Yesterday, the Financial Times reported on a community of Benedictine nuns based in Texas who were stunned to find themselves on a list compiled by Wal-Mart of the biggest threats to the company. The nuns have called on Wal-Mart to explain how they came to appear on the list.
It’s sad to see one of the greatest “potential” forces for a more sustainable planet continue to undermine itself. Wal-Mart is on a dangerous see saw. One day, there’s good news, and the next it’s bad. This is a characteristic of too many large companies (BP and Merrill Lynch to name a few others) as they confine their sustainability and responsible business initiatives to a limited number of highly compartmentalized efforts.
These “non-system” activities create as much reputational risk as they do opportunity. Until any company looks at its entire business and develops a “whole” effort to manage all aspects of its activities with an integrated point of view there is little or no chance of sustained success. This is about changing the way we think, how we think, and what we think about.