Updated Wal-Mart Live Better Index Reveals More Americans Embrace Earth Friendly Products

In the aisles and at the checkout, retailer expands affordable, “green” options


BENTONVILLE, Ark. – October 22, 2007 – Customers are increasing purchases of environmentally friendly products with promising gains in adoption rates of extended-life paper products, compact fluorescent light bulbs and organic milk, according to Wal-Mart’s first update of its Live Better Index data. Vermont takes the top adopter spot for the basket of Index products as the retailer makes “green” a convenient truth.

The Live Better Index was introduced this past April to serve as an ongoing barometer of consumer attitudes and shopping behaviors.  One focus of the ongoing study is products and attitudes surrounding environmental issues.

In addition to stocking environmentally friendly products in its aisles, Wal-Mart introduced reusable shopping bags this month to give customers a new “green” option at the checkout counter. The bags, which will be available at all Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and discount stores, are offered at $1 each and are made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET), a woven fabric derived from recycled plastic bottles. 

In addition to shifts in adoption rates of these environmentally friendly products over the past six months, the data show:

•    Consumers nationwide helped Wal-Mart reach the goal of placing 100 million compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) into American households this year. California jumped to the top of the list for CFLs with an adoption rate of nearly 25 percent. Following California, Connecticut and New Hampshire lead the way with CFL adoption rates.  The adoption rate of CFLs increased nearly 3 percent over the past six months and the CFLs that have been purchased since the Index was introduced will save consumers nearly $1.5 billion on their electric bills.

•    Rhode Island continues to lead the rest of the country in adoption of organic milk. Former frontrunners New Jersey and Connecticut have dropped in adoption rates to the number 19 and 14 spots, respectively, with Virginia and Colorado now tailing Rhode Island.

•    Arkansas now leads the way in adoption rates of compact laundry detergent, followed by Oklahoma and former leader New Hampshire at the number two and three spots.

•    While New Jersey formerly held the number 47 spot for the adoption rate of extended-life paper products, over the past six months it has jumped to the number one spot. Adoption rates of extended-life paper products have increased across the country, in part due to increased product offerings at Wal-Mart stores.

•    California continues to lead the nation with the top adoption rate of organic baby food.

This year’s Live Better Index survey in April revealed that while 43 percent of Americans think they will be “extremely green” in the next five years, only 11 percent of Americans classify themselves as “extremely green” today. Wal-Mart has taken action to help its customers accomplish this goal, including introducing private-label Great Value CFLs.  The new CFLs can be found in the lighting aisle at the value price of four bulbs for the cost of three regularly priced brand name CFLs.

Also, Wal-Mart is changing its aisles to offer only concentrated liquid laundry detergent.  The changeover is currently underway in the Southern region.  The next wave will extend to the North and Midwest in February and finish in East coast states in April 2008.  As part of Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to the environment, this transition will save vast amounts of natural resources. For water alone, the equivalent of 100 million individual showers will be saved.

About Wal-Mart’s Live Better Index
In April 2007 Wal-Mart announced the Live Better Index, to support Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to helping customers save money and live better.  With 180 million shoppers annually and over 80 percent of American households shopping its stores, Wal-Mart is an indicator of American spending habits, preferences and attitudes.

Wal-Mart identified five everyday products to serve as nationwide trend indicators for the “go green” portion of the Live Better Index. The products were selected because consumers can make a conscious decision to purchase them for their environmentally friendly and cost-saving benefits versus conventional versions. These items are also frequent purchases that are available in stores across the country, allowing Wal-Mart to track and monitor national and regional purchasing habits over time. The products are:

1.    Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs)
2.    Organic milk
3.    Concentrated/reduced-packaging liquid laundry detergents
4.    Extended-life paper products
5.    Organic baby food

Product adoption rates are based on Wal-Mart sales figures that represent the company’s fiscal year 2008 year-to-date ending October 12, 2007 and are inclusive of the 48 contiguous United States.

More details on the Live Better Index are available at www.livebetterindex.com.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America.  The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally.  Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local United States communities.  To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

# # #