Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is expanding a program to help employees develop individual goals to improve their personal health and the health of the environment, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, recycling more, and using environmentally friendly products in their homes.
The company calls the initiative "Personal Sustainability Projects" (PSPs). The program is voluntary and aims to encourage employees to incorporate the principles of sustainability into their daily lives.
Wal-Mart's 1.3 million employees in the United States will learn about PSPs and have the opportunity to adopt their own personal sustainability goals. The company is encouraging employees to educate their colleagues, customers, families, and communities on personal sustainability and the impact it can have on their daily lives.
"Sustainability has become part of the Wal-Mart culture, and PSPs are one way for associates to become involved--in their stores, their communities and their daily lives," says Linda Dillman, executive vice president of risk management, benefits, and sustainability at the company. "PSPs are being created by and for associates to help make choices that can have a real impact on their personal health and happiness and on their families, neighbors, communities, and the environment. We're excited about what we've seen and learned so far and about what can happen as this project grows."
In July 2006, associates in eight stores in the Denver and Indianapolis areas participated in a pilot PSP program through which they created personal sustainability projects and made a voluntary commitment to meet their goals. The PSPs included making healthier food choices, volunteering in their communities, and using environmentally friendly products in their homes. In October 2006, the company expanded the program to 130 Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations in Denver, Indianapolis, and Tampa test markets.
The company says that the PSPs have had the following results:
- More than 20,000 employees developed PSPs in the three test markets. In the Denver market alone, 84 percent of employees adopted PSPs.
- More than 300 employees quit smoking.
- In the Tampa market, 300 employees set up recycling programs in their homes. Paper recycling centers have been established in all stores in the Indianapolis market, and proceeds are donated to the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital . Overall, more than 16 tons of paper, aluminum, and plastic have been recycled as part of the pilot PSP efforts.
- Collectively, employees lost more than 2,000 pounds by eating healthier and exercising more.
One employee received training to present information from Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth. She is now speaking to other associates, community members, friends, and family on global warming.