It seems several lifetimes away, but 22 years ago, work began on a tiny mail order catalog called "Seventh Generation." Its vision was a big one: to bring sustainability into every home and make it as much a part of daily life as brushing one's teeth. Two decades plus down the road and we're not there yet. But we're about to get a whole lot closer. In a few weeks, our products will appear in Walmart stores around the country and on Walmart.com. When they do, we'll have passed a historic company milestone, and the world will be that much better for it. I say that knowing that a lot of people, some of them among our most loyal long-time customers, will raise an eyebrow (at least!) at this news. Walmart, as we know, has a notoriously checkered corporate past and there aren't many neutral opinions where the company is concerned. Its reputation hasn't been great, often deservedly so, and many, including myself, assumed that Seventh Generation and Walmart would never have any relationship. But you can't see into the future, and it's always subject to change. Now it has and in ways we didn't envision. So why are we selling to Walmart? The short answer is because it's time and we should. By this, I mean two things:
- First that Walmart is not the same company it was even five years ago. It's a much different organization that has fairly dramatically and with little fanfare transformed itself into a serious sustainability leader. A few months ago, I wrote a long post about just how much remarkable progress the retailer has made and the tremendous level of positive influence it's now wielding on its employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. I won't repeat all that here. Suffice it to say that Walmart has come a very long way and is committed to going a great deal further.
- Second, Walmart's size means we'll reach people and places we couldn't reach before and help countless more families lead safer, healthier lives. From rural outposts to inner cities, we'll get much closer to fulfilling our mission to help all consumers protect the planet and themselves from harm.