WASHINGTON — After implementing chainwide the suggestion of a store associate to unplug the light source of its break room vending machines, Wal-Mart saved over $1 million in related energy costs, according to Matt Kistler, senior vice president of sustainability for Wal-Mart Stores. "Wal-Mart doesn't consider itself a green company but we are doing great things and making progress in the area of sustainability," he told attendees during the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Sustainability Summit here last week. "Certainly Lee Scott, our CEO, has been a tremendous leader in this area for our company, but I also urge you to listen to store associates and implement things from the bottom up." The retailer worked with suppliers who produced clings to explain to users that its vending machines were still on and providing cold beverages, but that its lights were turned off to save energy. Sales were unaffected. Kistler encouraged attendees to incorporate sustainability into everything they do, keep learning and not to become discouraged by the unknown. This year, Wal-Mart will begin analyzing supplier data related to its Packaging Scorecard to track packaging reductions. Kistler explained how General Mills was able to further reduce its Hamburger Helper packaging by changing the shape of its noodles.
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