Wal-Mart Plans to Take Leadership Role in Energy, Trade, Health Care
New York City Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which launched a broad environmental push in late 2005, wants to expand that focus to other issues including energy prices, international trade and U.S. health-care costs.
Chief executive Lee Scott outlined plans in a speech Wednesday to push for more energy-saving products for Wal-Mart shoppers, work with other retailers on social and environmental standards for the foreign companies they buy from, and trim prescription and health-records costs at home. He spoke before about 7,000 Wal-Mart store managers in Kansas City, where the company holds a convention center meeting at the start of every year to look at new products and sales plans for the year ahead.
Scott said the effort follows on goals he set in 2005 that started Wal-Mart’s current drive to use less energy in its stores, cut down solid waste from things such as packaging and sell more environmentally friendly products.
Scott laid out three areas for Wal-Mart’s attention. He said rising energy costs are hurting Wal-Mart customers, so the retailer will work with its suppliers to offer more energy-saving products. A Wal-Mart statement said this would include making its most energy-intensive products, such as computers, microwaves and water heaters, 25% more efficient within three years. It will also seek to cut power use by the flat-screen televisions it sells by 30% by 2010.
In the second area of attention, Wal-Mart will launch an effort with other major retailers to improve social, ethical and environmental standards among its global suppliers. The chain will work with the international retail body CIES to come up with those standards and find a way to share joint auditing of foreign factories, which now are visited by inspectors from many individual customers.
In the third area of attention, U.S. health care, Scott said Wal-Mart can help drive down the costs of prescriptions beyond the $4 generic drugs it has introduced. The retailer will contract with “select employers” to help them manage their employee prescription claims and processing.
It will also work with doctors to increase the number of electronic prescriptions, which it said would save costs compared to paper records, and introduce electronic health records for all its U.S. employees and retirees by the end of 2010.
Whitman to step down as eBay ceo
SAN JOSE, Calif. Meg Whitman is stepping down as president and ceo of eBay.
eBay today confirmed reports that Whitman was planning to leave her post as head of the company. Whitman will resign from her role as president and ceo on March 31. She will remain on the company’s board of directors.
Whitman joined eBay in March 1998 and helped lead the company toward its growth from 500,000 registered users, just 30 employees, and $4.7 million in revenue to more than 15,000 employees and nearly $7.7 billion in revenue. Whitman led eBay to become one of the fastest-growing companies in history.
John Donahoe will succeed Whitman as president and ceo. Donahoe came to eBay in February 2005 from Bain & Company, where he had served as worldwide managing director since 1999. For nearly three years, Donahoe has been president of eBay Marketplaces, which accounts for more than 70% of the company’s global revenues.
“During the last three years, John and I have worked very closely together to arrive at this day, and we’ll continue to work together through the transition,” said Whitman. “I’m extremely confident in John’s skills and the abilities of John’s veteran management team. eBay and its millions of users are in great hands as they head into the future.”
FUJIFILM expands image solutions at Ritz Camera
VALHALLA, N.Y. FUJIFILM U.S.A. today announced that Ritz Camera Centers, the largest specialty camera and image chain in the United States with approximately 1,000 locations, is expanding its portfolio of customer offerings with a new solution that enables in-store production of specialty photo products.
Fujifilm said it has partnered with Xerox to devolop a solution for Ritz Camera Centers that offers seamless integration with Xerox Phaser 7760 color laser printers. Ritz Camera customers will be able to create photo books, photo calendars and greeting cards via in-store kiosks or through the Ritz Camera Centers Web site, www.ritzpix.com, for in-store pick up in as little as one hour, the company reported.
“The scalability and choice of Fujifilm’s product and service offerings is second to none,” said Rich Tranchida, evp of Ritz Camera Centers. “We’ve literally plugged into a new revenue generator that enables us to offer our valued customers an assortment of unique new products. What’s more, this solution positions us at the cutting edge of the retail side of all things photo.”