Research Paper Addresses Walmart Sustainability

David Hyatt

An article co-authored by David Hyatt, research associate professor of supply chain management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, addresses how Walmart came to be one of the most sustainability-minded companies in the world.

The article entitled “Walmart tried to make sustainability affordable. Here’s what happened” was published at “The Conversation is a platform for sharing academic research but written for popular audiences,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt and his co-author – Andrew Spicer, an associate professor of international business at the University of South Carolina – spent five years studying Walmart’s sustainability program that they call “an ambitious effort to figure out how to get its budget-conscious customers to buy more sustainable products.”

They trace the origins and history of the effort back to Lee Scott, chief executive officer of Walmart from 2000 to 2009, and examine what prompted the move. The article says “Our findings highlight both the promises and perils of what one Walmart executive optimistically termed the ‘democratization of sustainability.’”

The article also extensively examines the concept of sustainability, at one point asking, “What’s ‘sustainable’ anyway?”

Read the entire article online at

The Conversation article was based on work published in the California Management Review.