Let's go green! Or is it grey?

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By: Stefan Kolle

Recently several large companies like GE, P&G, BP and others have started to embrace sustainability as a core value.  While – I hope – this is in part driven by CEO and stakeholder idealism, the key issue is actually still raising profits.  Now Wal-Mart has joined the fray.

Fortune recently did a lengthy portrait on Wal-Mart joining the green crowd. There may be  some idealism involved, but most importantly, they are reading the signs of the times, and realising that Green is becoming an ever stronger driver for many consumers buying decisions. With it's unimaginable market-power Wal-Mart can drive this forward very quickly.

Reactions have been a rather mixed bag of goodies – especially the green community has reacted with distrust and contempt. Personally I think the ends justify the means in this case – I'm perfectly fine with Rob Walton getting a few billion richer, if in the meantime the planet is a little bit less worse off. The multiple effects Wal-Marts engagement will have – price-reductions for green groceries, enlightenment for many new consumers, straight forward environmental effects – are potentially so huge this could be a turning point.

Also, Wal-Mart is going to use this new direction as part of their story-telling effort. Wal-Mart is the new Microsoft in many peoples eyes – the embodiment of the evil corporation. We will be watching with high interest how this pans out. Could Wal-Mart become a green brand?

As moves like Wal-Mart's are spreading, we have decided to add a category to this site about Green marketing. We will soon invite a few new contributors to bring their expertise in the field. We'd like to ask the readers also to 'nominate' bloggers that can give us insights in how to market innovatively to the green market.

And while we're at it, we will also be adding the 'Grey' as a category. We are all aware of the massive buying power that the Babyboomer generation and those above constitute – but we also realise that it's not easy to market specifically to these groups. There are a few good thinkers out there – that once again we will invite soon. But we'd also look forward to your suggestions.