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Suzuki selling out?

by Archives January 8, 2008

VICTORIA (CUP) — Famous environmental scientist David Suzuki is a consultant with big corporations, including one of the world’s most well-known and environmentally notorious – Wal-Mart.
Naturally, he was subjected to criticism from his peers about working with the big chain store. Suzuki himself has often criticized Wal-Mart for its practices.
But why would he choose to work with this company? An ideal world wouldn’t have stores like Wal-Mart at all, as anyone who’s bothered to do their homework on how the company operates would probably agree. But perhaps this kind of idealism isn’t realistic – at least not now.
A lot of people won’t shop at a place like Wal-Mart for moral reasons. But, let’s face it, Wal-Mart isn’t going anywhere any time soon because a lot of people shop there. Their stores offer a wide variety of cheap goods, which is just too tempting for the average consumer.
Although Suzuki has been very critical of corporate juggernauts like Wal-Mart, it seems he’s realized working with these companies would be more effective.
Sure, Wal-Mart is probably interested in more “green” ways of operating their business, not as a matter of concern for the environment, but as another way to increase their profit margins.
So Suzuki has suggested more environmentally sustainable practices for Wal-Mart, which has reduced their operating costs.
Considering the staying power of Wal-Mart, isn’t Suzuki doing a better job than other environmentalists by suggesting ways the company can diminish its environmental impact, rather than just wishing against all odds that people will stop shopping at their stores?
Wal-Mart is a bad company in a lot of ways, but most students probably shop there from time to time. Clearly, a lot of people must be, even in a more left-leaning, environmentally conscious city like Victoria, otherwise the company wouldn’t be building their new “super centre” in the Town and Country Mall.
It’s good someone like Suzuki can realize these companies just aren’t going to go away, and is willing to work with them to diminish their environmental impact.
If the majority of people aren’t going to change their shopping habits to more environmentally responsible ways, at least there’s some comfort that there are people who will work to reduce the impacts of the rest of us.

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