Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wal-Mart's White Hat campaign

There's been so much nasty news lately about Wal-Mart that the corporation is desperately trying to do good things to spruce up its image. Among these are a shift to bioplastics and renewable-energy-powered stores.

But wait. Those corn-based bioplastics are often made using genetically engineered agroindustry corn, which may be problematic in itself. Industrial ecology places an emphasis on sustainability of systems, and in particular, industry and manufacturing. While bioengineered corn may be able to relieve us of petroleum-based plastics, corn itself is an energy-intensive crop to grow. Six of one, half a dozen of the other?

And then there's all those products shipped halfway round the world to land in a Wal-Mart store, when they could have been made locally, or at least in the same state. That's still a huge energy cost generated by Wal-Mart, even with alternative energy.

Better than nothing, I guess.

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