If this is real then I will have to reconsider my ban on Wal-Mart. Check out the story on Big Money about the sustainability index. An rating system like this could really change the behavior of businesses with some consumer pressure. A state Department of Ecology manager told me that the general public only understands one environmental term, organic. It would take retail leaders like Wal-Mart and Costco to help market and define an index for broader sustainability issues rather than the current non-existent or splintered use of green terms. Verification will be a challenge to overcome but this is a step in the right direction.
What is important is for Wal-Mart to be true to its mission to be believable. For example, Wal-Mart has had a bad reputation on how it treats its employees. It would be difficult for me to trust their sustainability index when they do not treat their employees as well. Costco has had a good reputation in how they treat their employees. Thus, it helps that a consortium will lead the implementation of the index. Business needs to be harmony with all customer touch and reputation points to have a high level of trust.
Even with the challenges in this program, this is the type of activity that business needs to make to move our country and the world towards a more liveable future. Thank you to Wal-Mart to try to take the lead.