Wal-Mart Exec Lauds Sustainability as Responsible and Rewarding

There are plenty of noble reasons to pursue, practice and promote sustainability.

At the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal's third annual "Greenest Office" awards presentation on Tuesday, however, a member of the world's largest retailer echoed the sentiment of a small shop owner in downtown Rogers.

"We do it because it's actually the best practice," Dana Pickup, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. senior manager for store innovations sustainability, told the dozens in attendance at Bentonville Plaza. "Wal-Mart is committed and in it for the long haul."

So is Holly Mang, owner of Brick Street Botanical LLC, one of five winners formally recognized at the event. Mang has embraced sustainable practices not just because she believes it's the right thing to do, but also because she's found it "cost-effective to be green."

Pickup outlined numerous ways in which Wal-Mart has proved that sentiment since former CEO Lee Scott delivered his famed "21st Century leadership speech" in 2005. Since then, Wal-Mart has been hailed far and wide for its sustainability efforts and rewarded with a host of bottom-line benefits.

The retailer's next step, Pickup said, is to lead others in the same direction.

"We're not keeping what we know in a silo," he said. "We're collaborating upstream and downstream."

In addition to Brick Street, other winners were: Arvest Bank Group Inc., Benchmark Group, Clubhaus Fitness Centers Inc., and Natural Building Solutions. Arvest's branch on Joyce Boulevard in Fayetteville was selected by a three-judge panel as the overall winner, and recently was awarded Gold LEED certification.

Profiles on all the companies are available here.