Wal-Mart - Scores A Home Run of Bad Press - Lieing to Customers about ORGANIC FOODS

Submitted by Zebra Mussel on Mon, 01/22/2007 - 22:56.
Just in case you missed the international headlines on the subject..  lets break it down for you.  But first some local background... Out in Aurora, accross from Geauga Lake, Walmart built its store on class 1,2,and 3 wetlands in some of the most protected wetlands in our state.  All it takes is money, right?  The developer "Heritage Development" had environmental reserves of 7M$ and only paid a fine of 1.2M$  What a bargin.  Nature Bats Last.   But go look at nature fighting back.  See the cracking pavement sidewalks from the hydric soils... HA HAA.  Take note of the isolated pocket of forest in the middle of the parking llot, it was a concession!    Then last week I read about the walmart atop cityview landfill.  Sky high levels of vinyl chloride, illness clusters covered in a recent free times or scene.     With that frame in mind....now onto the latest scoop that is NOT from YOUR back yard:

Wal-Mart Fraud Flap Begs Question: What is 'Organic'?
by Sarah Mahoney, Monday, Jan 22, 2007 5:00 AM ET
WHEN A WAL-MART SHOPPER SEES the word "organic," what do they think it means? How about at Starbucks? Thanks to consumers' changing preferences, the meaning of the "O" word may be a moving target that neither retailers nor environmentalists fully understand.

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group, has charged Wal-Mart with "organic fraud," claiming the company consistently mislabels certain products, including yogurts and sugar, as "organic." And after filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture several months ago, the group, based in Cornucopia, Wisc., lodged another one recently with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, which is also investigating.

The Organic Consumers Association responded by calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart stores. Never heard of the OCA? It's the same organization that has been pressuring Starbucks to stop using milk with artificial growth hormones. Last week Starbucks announced its intention to make that switch in all of its company-owned stores.

Wal-Mart, for its part, maintains the store signage violations are rare and "strictly an executional issue," said a spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain. "We don't have an organic section--our customers want to see the organic alternatives displayed right next to the conventional counterpart. We believe it to be an isolated incident should a green organic tag identifying a product be accidentally shifted in front of the wrong item."

And last September, Cornucopia published a white paper accusing Wal-Mart of "cheapening the value of the organic label by sourcing products from industrial-scale factory-farms and Third World countries."

"The idea of 'selling the sizzle, not the steak' has never applied to anything as much as it does to organic products," said Mark Kastel, co-director of Cornucopia. "When consumers buy organic products, they are buying a story, a romance--it isn't just about chemicals, they want to believe they're buying milk from small family farms, not 10,000-cow industrial farms. We will not tolerate anyone exploiting that sense of trust and authenticity."

The USDA has strict guidelines for the organic label, but those aren't necessarily understood by consumers. "When people see the word organic, they likely think it means the product is natural," said Jacquelyn Ottman, a green marketing consultant based in New York, and author of Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation. "Some of the more sophisticated ones will understand that means something is grown without pesticides, and there will be an association that is from a small farmer, and locally grown."

About 73% of Americans purchase organic products at least occasionally, said Laurie Demeritt, president of The Hartman Group, an environmental marketing group based in Bellevue, Wash. But only 21% of those represent what she terms the core organic market. "These are people who shop at farmer's markets and food co-ops, and probably don't shop much at all in any national chains," she said. Typically, they are very concerned about such issues as whether a product was produced locally or in another country.

But 66% of organic consumers shop in many channels, and "really don't want to be educated about the finer points of what makes something organic. By and large, these people buy organic because of perceived health benefits. To them, organic means the lack of something bad--the lack of pesticides, or the lack of growth hormones. We're pretty selfish as consumers--we're buying these products because of what we believe they can do for us, more than what it can do for the environment."

There's also another group: The discerning foodie. And while Wal-Mart may not have a prayer of ever regaining the trust of the core environmentalists, it is hoping to win over this more affluent customer base. "These cooks are important, and they are buying organic because they expect it to taste better," Ottman said.



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WalMart has interesting role in society

Interesting WalMart even has organic products - I hate stepping foot in WalMart and don't, and don't trust generic organic products and am brand conscious and choosy about food -  I could go on and on - but at the commodity level WalMart is getting 1,000,000s of people to buy CF bulbs (see http://realneo.us/We-are-going-there)

Disrupt IT

walmart

ah yes... if only they treated their employees like humans. It is like having a sovereign nation that can violate human rights in every suburb and rual location in the nation. I would visit them if they turned some of their stores into methane capture locations and others into meadows and forests. I buy my cfs at the local hardware store.
After reading Nickel and Dimed, and The Hometown Advantage, I haven't set foot in one. It is hard to shop locally... I do the best I can.

CF bulbs should be given to public... local

When you think about it, CF bulbs should be subsidized and given to those in need - it is the least we can do. Sustainability is still too much about business and not enough about smart social change. And I agree about WalMart and buying local - I don't find it so hard and in fact find all the chain stuff and social experiences or chain environments of every type far inferior to what I can buy/get local so it is worth seeking out the good sources for everything - the experience is worth it. I find that one of the pleasures of travel is to do the same thing in places I've never been before - seeking out the authentic local excellent experiences.

Disrupt IT

walmart watch

My sister, often alert to things in the media before I see them, sent me a link to this Walmart Watch page. I get an email everyday with the latest news of the situation they're in. There are enough issues to fill a page daily. I sent them the heads up about the methane gas leaking in the Walmart in our area. It was in the newsletter the very next day. Many eyes are on Walmart.

Where is the WalMart NEO Million Lights Campaign?

A friend sent me an interesting press release on a new, 20% more energy efficient WalMart being built in Kansas that makes me wonder, what about the new WalMart in SteelHead Commons. That must be one of the newest WalMarts in the world, yet I don't see big international articles and press releases about the energy efficiency of that, or that they are donating 1,000s of CFL bulbs to low income Clevelanders. I think this is a good illustration that Cleveland leadership caves to corporate interests, and that WalMart oils the squeakiest wheels. Cleveland didn't squeak, and we lose. Can WalMart be good? No. Can WalMart be forced to do good? In a good place. NEO is not yet a good place. Try again with the next WalMart.

Disrupt IT

Steel-Mart

About the Steelyard Commons deal an all too common deal it seems in Cleveland.

Meanwhile ... Are you ready for the BANK of WAL-MART!!!!
From today's Walmart Watch

It's time to put an end to The Bank of Wal-Mart once and for all.

You may not remember the last time we talked about this issue. Last year, Wal-Mart thought they'd pull a fast one by using a backdoor procedure known as an industrial loan charter (ILC) to become a bank. With high-dollar lawyers and some political strong-arming, they tried to stay below the radar and quietly get approval from the FDIC.

Then the emails started pouring in to the FDIC chair. With a simple call to action, thousands of you wrote to the FDIC with powerful comments -- and they listened. The hearings were put on hold until Jan. 31 -- only few days away.

Right now, legislation is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would maintain the historic separation between banking and commerce. Urge your representative to co-sponsor the Frank-Gillmor Bill -- a bipartisan measure that would prevent Wal-Mart, Home Depot and several other commercial firms from chartering or acquiring an ILC bank:

http://action.walmartwatch.com/frank_gillmor

Here's what some folks had to say last time:

For five years I worked at Wal-Mart. While there, I observed their flagrant disregard of federal and state laws in order to produce more revenue.

Since Wal-Mart is willing to break laws for more money, what would they do if allowed to open banks? They will continue to monopolize every facet of business and smaller community-owned businesses will be doomed.

Please do not grant Wal-Mart the right to have banks. Thank you for your time in reading this.

--Cyndy S.

A Wal-Mart bank would pose a serious threat to drive community banks out of business, like they have done to local grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, etc. By doing this a Wal-Mart bank could take capital out of local communities and could refuse to make loans to local businesses.

According to my understanding of anti-trust legislation a bank owned by the largest corporation in the world would create a dangerous concentration of commercial and financial power. Their business practices and constant lawsuits from former and current employees shows that they are getting out of control and need to be made accountable. By keeping Wal-Mart out of the banking industry it maintains a good and equitable balance between their attempted retail industry control and the financial influences they could impose if given the power of a banking institution.

-- Elise G.

Wal-Mart failed to see how a group of committed activists like you could put a stop to their insatiable expansion.

We won then -- and we can win again. Write your legislator and tell them to support the Frank-Gillmor Bill:

http://action.walmartwatch.com/frank_gillmor

The passage of Frank-Gillmor would be a landmark achievement in our fight to reform America's largest corporate bully. With members of both parties lined up on our side, we can pass this legislation that will finally draw a line to protect communities across the country.

Let's keep our momentum going; tell your representative to support the Frank-Gillmor Bill:

http://action.walmartwatch.com/frank_gillmor

A Bank of Wal-Mart threatens the entrepreneurial spirit that makes America so great -- and we can stop it by acting today.

Sincerely,

David Nassar
Wal-Mart Watch

Wal-Mart in Garfield has bad smell

From breaking (excuse the pun) news at the PD

Wal-Mart shoppers evacuated after false methane gas alarm

Posted by mpuente [at] plaind [dot] com October 18, 2007 18:38PM

Garfield Heights -- Shoppers were evacuated from a Wal-Mart in the City View Center this afternoon because of faulty methane detectors.

No methane gas was detected and nobody was injured during the evacuation about 2:15 p.m., fire officials said.

The store is located at E. 98th St. and Transportation Boulevard in the City View shopping plaza. The plaza was built on a closed landfill, and stores monitor for methane gas, which is explosive, because the gas could seep into the buildings.

Like I said, they should give up on the store and go green by being the first methane capture energy producing remake of a walmart built on landfill. That is is they are so green... They of all corporations should be eager to jump on a capital producing opportunity.

Kill us all mall

  When I lived in Syracuse, the big joke was a visit to the Carousel Mall--aka Kill us all Mall--built on contaminated landfill.