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Mother Nature Network partners with Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

A new online destination profiling sustainability innovations and innovators has been created by The Mother Nature Network (MNN) and Walmart.

The Web site is called, "The Leaderboard" and the goal is to showcase the biggest innovations in sustainability and the pioneers who are creating them.

"There are an incredible number of new ideas, programs, products, and services being created which will have a very positive impact on sustainability," said Joel Babbit, MNN’s CEO. "And most interestingly, they aren’t all from large corporations. Many are developed by very small companies, schools, non-profit organizations, some even by single individuals."

Plans call for The Leaderboard to profile dozens of forward-thinking innovators, with new stories published every week. The site also features content from Walmart that showcases some of the company efforts.

"Thanks to the ingenuity, passion and innovative thinking of so many people, we’ve seen an increase in sustainable technologies, processes and options in the past decade," said Andrea Thomas, Walmart’s SVP of sustainability. "These new ideas have helped companies, like Walmart, make significant progress toward our sustainability goals. Walmart has a responsibility to use its size and scale to influence positive change, and we believe ‘The Leaderboard’ will be a place to showcase cutting edge ideas and spark further adoption."

Launched in January 2009, MNN.com is the flagship site of Mother Nature Network, the world’s most visited environmental and social responsibility online network with more than seven million monthly visits.

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Shopko completes conversion of Pamida stores

BY CSA STAFF

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko has completed the conversion of 163 Pamida stores. The move makes Shopko one of the largest U.S. retailers to serve smaller and rural communities. The merger was first announced one year ago this month.

Shopko invested a total of $70 million into efforts to convert the Pamida stores to the Shopko Hometown format. Today Shopko currently operates 176 Shopko Hometown stores, a significant jump from just 10 at this time last year. The Shopko Hometown retail format offers a differentiated and financially successful merchandising strategy. Shopko Hometown combines pharmacy services with a broad and dynamic offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items, and lawn and garden products – all in attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store formats that range from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet.

“2012 was a watershed year for Shopko as a result of the merger with Pamida which significantly increased our store count, employee base and overall revenue. Our team did an exceptional job of integrating the two companies into one and staying on an aggressive schedule for the store conversion efforts. All 163 stores were converted and opened on time,” said Mike Bettiga, Shopko Interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer. “As we move into 2013 and beyond, our focus is on solidifying the Shopko Hometown brand and opening more Hometown stores in new communities.”

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Walmart prevails in union ordeal

BY CSA STAFF

Organized labor was dealt a setback in its attacks on Walmart on Thursday when the National Labor Relations Board sided with the retailer in a dispute involving the United Food and Commercial Workers.

The UFCW reached a settlement with Walmart stemming from demonstrations the union organized at various Walmart stores on Black Friday. The protests received considerable media attention at the time as the union sought to persuade Walmart employees to walk off the job on the busiest day of the year.

As part of the settlement the UFCW agreed that it would not picket or cause to be picketed or engage in confrontational conduct that is the functional equivalent of picketing in order to force or require Walmart to recognize and bargain with organized labor.

"Today the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the UFCW reached a settlement agreement that will bring the union’s unlawful tactics and disruptions towards Walmart, our associates and our customers to an end," said David Tovar, Walmart’s VP of communications. "We appreciate the thorough efforts of the NLRB in its investigation. Many of the union’s demonstrations and pickets used before Black Friday were illegal. As part of this agreement, the UFCW says in its letter to the board that it has no intent in ‘forcing or requiring Walmart to recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of its employees.’"

The settlement does mean the end of union attacks on Walmart though. Rather, the agreement indicates the union and a group it supports called OUR Walmart will stop picketing and confrontational conduct for a period of 60 days at the company’s stores and other facilities.

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