Can we forget the past? 1

Walmart has become a retail superstore, offering one-stop shopping with very low prices. But over the years, the company has been criticized for its large ecological footprint and other social concerns. Walmart just released its 2012 Global Responsibility Report that boasts of notable achievements from the past year including 80% waste reduction, locally grown produce expansion, the women’s economic empowerment initiative, more affordable healthy food choices, use of 1.1 billion kWh of renewable energy, supplier tracking, and improvements in diversity and inclusion.

Just over two years ago, BP faced the nation’s most catastrophic offshore oil disaster. As a result, BP has been forced to clean up environmentally, economically, and socially.  Despite the events of 2010, BP is no stranger to sustainability. The company changed its logo in 2001 to the current green and yellow sunflower symbol, and introduced the slogan, “Beyond Petroleum.” BP’s recent sustainability efforts in 2011 focused on safety and risk management. The company has also invested over $6 billion dollars in alternative energy, including oil sands, shale gas, biofuels, and wind.  BP is not shy about the mess they have been in and is attempting to move forward by correcting their mistakes and focusing on the global energy crisis.

It is clear these 2 companies have faced their fair share of criticism, while making great strides in sustainability.  Is society ready or willing to forget the past and see these companies in the new light that they are casting as they move into the future?