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Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott stunned the business world three years ago when he told a meeting of more than 1,000 suppliers and other partners near the company’s Bentonville, Ark., offices: Environmental sustainability must become a central part of the company’s formidable supply chain operations. The goals included everything from doubling fuel efficiency over the next decade to eliminating 30% of energy use in stores. And, the company would start taking such steps as evaluating suppliers on the environmental acceptability of their packaging and using those assessments to make buying decisions.

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