Working With the Enemy

Nice cover story in this month's Fast Company about greenie Adam
Werbach, who told off the activist community for losing its focus and
then promptly signed up to work for Walmart. He's currently working
with their VP of Sustainability to infiltrate the Walmart culture
towards environmentally sound practices.

Though vilified by some for "working with the enemy," I believe he's
on to something. After all, if you really want to effect change, and
the biggest company around is offering you a lever, why wouldn't you
take it? Or are other greenies less interested in actually making a
difference and more interested in heaping judgment on the bogeyman?

Second, from a pure numbers standpoint, you could hold Walmart
accountable to achieve 1 percent of its green goals and do more than a
hundred lifetimes of teaching individuals and small companies how to
minimize their impact on the earth. Or, again, are you more
interested in looking busy doing the right thing than in doing lots of
the right thing?

Finally, Werbach has taken flak for pushing personal sustainability
issues like not smoking and watching what you eat. But he has
correctly surmised that people care first about themselves, and the
best on-ramp to making modifications to your daily behavior is
suggesting modifications that help yourself.

Just 34, Werbach has shown a lot of moxie in telling off his peer
group and then in pushing his chips forward with the perceived enemy.
Best of luck to this gutsy activist.


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