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Bloggers view Whole Foods, Home Depot as most sustainable retailers

BY CSA STAFF

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. Based on analysis of 40 million blog posts collected during the past six months, Whole Foods received the highest levels of volume and positive mentions regarding environmental sustainability among retail brands, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Environmental Sustainability Report.

Home Depot received the second highest percentage of positive mentions following Whole Foods. Home Depot, along with Amazon and Target, fall within in the contender category. Wal-Mart, which initiated the big move in the retail space with a commitment to “go green”, generated the second-highest amount of total volume of mentions, but had lower-than-average positive sentiment, placing the brand in the emerging quadrant. However, when viewed against the total discussion of Wal-Mart in general, sustainability discussions represented just 2% of its total volume of blog discussions.

“Although Whole Foods surpassed other retail brands in terms of the volume of positive mentions it received from bloggers, each of the eight retailers included in the report received similarly high proportions of positive or neutral mentions in sustainability discussions taking place in the blogosphere,” said Janet Eden-Harris, vp of the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power and Associates. “The good news for retailers is that they are being recognized by consumers for their environmentally friendly actions.”

Among other major retail brands, Safeway and Costco generated more than 1% of total sustainability discussions, but had lower-than-average volume and a lower-than-average proportion of positive sentiment when compared to other brands in the industry, placing them in the challenged quadrant. No other retailer was discussed in significant volume relative to sustainability.

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Now playing in Aisle 3: ‘Register to Vote’

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, ARK. —As Wal-Mart prepares to rollout an aggressive advertiser-driven in-store media network, it is using its current in-store TV system to promote what is arguably a more noble cause than product promotion—namely, a get-out-the-vote campaign.

As part of the retailer’s efforts to engage both customers and associates, Wal-Mart will begin a non-partisan voter registration campaign next week with public service announcements on its in-store television network. The program is designed to encourage 136 million weekly customers, as well as 1.4 million U.S. associates, to register and vote in the November elections. The campaign will include two, 15-second PSAs, which will run through Election Day.

In the same vein, the company has begun hosting a voter registration portal on its corporate Web site, www.WalmartStores.com/Vote , and will put up posters with voter registration information at nearly 600 of its domestic Sam’s Club locations.

“Pollsters have found that our core shoppers—Walmart women—are an influential demographic in the upcoming presidential election,” said Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s evp of corporate affairs and government relations. “Our voter registration campaign is designed to encourage millions of customers and associates to register and cast their votes.”

Click here for coverage of Wal-Mart’s Smart Network.

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Trend Tracker: Framing the environment

BY CSA STAFF

Burnes is launching a line of photo frames made from sustainable materials. A percentage of sales from the line will be donated to Save the Earth.

The line’s reclaimed, “idle wood” frames—material recovered from old bridges, warehouses, factories and shipping pallets—include marks of wear to provide an authentically distressed look. They come in natural and walnut finishes and two crackled styles, chocolate/cream and grass green (pictured). The line’s plastic frames, which come in gold and bronze metallic finishes, are made from recycled materials that would have otherwise gone to landfills, Burnes stated.

Frames range in size from 4-inch by 6-inch to 8-inch by 10-inch and in MSRP from $8 to $25.

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