EESC 230 Post #4 – A Conservative and Organic Walmart?

Something that recently interested me in class was the discussion on Walmart becoming a store that has started to incorporate organic items into their stock. This piqued my interests because a few days earlier in my Public Policy class, we talked about policy making and all the players in the process. These players included lobbyists, big businesses and of course, politicians. The discussion mainly focused around Walmart and how they were one of the biggest actors in policy making because they have their own lobbyists in the Capitol, fighting for their interests, as well as the interests of the political campaigns they are funding. This article talks about the Walmart PAC (Political Action Committee) as well as the Walton family (heirs to Walmart) and how they spent millions of dollars in past elections towards conservative candidates. Below is a graph of the Walmart PAC and the Walton family’s contributions to candidates who were also endorsed by the NRA, a notably conservative interest group.

The discrepancy, and how this relates to the environment, is Walmart’s recent use of including more organic items. Typically, organic food and items are bought by a more liberal group of people. This article talks about the changes Walmart is making in buying and selling organic and how the people/companies, albeit a small amount, they buy from run substantial, organic farms. The article concludes with a summary of although the company is increasingly selling organic items, it’s still a business with a main goal of generating a profit, not generating social change. This concluding statement brings me to my question and point of what is going to happen when the ideologies of Walmart clash with the supply and demand of organic products.

It’s generally been known that conservative politicians are not people who usually stand for the environment so to have Walmart endorse people that are against one of the most up and coming things in agriculture and business will make for very interesting debates in the political, social, and environmental arena’s in the future. With Walmart being one of the biggest businesses in the United States, it’s almost funny to see them contributing to their business in such opposite, borderline polarizing ways. I think that some time in the future, those who support buying organic from Walmart will also have to learn that Walmart is one of the biggest funders in conservative campaigns, practically controlling the policy world, and make a decision on whether or not they want to continue buying organic from the super store. Walmart selling organic while also funding conservative campaigns is a good indicator at how far invested this country has become in business and how polarized a simple thing of eating healthier and cleaner has become. It will be very interesting to see if Walmart is truly interested in keeping up with organic food or if they are just doing it because that is where the money currently is.

 

Sarah Campbell

3 thoughts on “EESC 230 Post #4 – A Conservative and Organic Walmart?

  1. Sarah C. says:

    This is still a very interesting topic to me because a political science major with a minor in environmental sustainability, I’m very interested in how the two disciplines can work together. Not only will the two have to reach an agreement when it comes to funding organic farms and selling their products, they also have a new task of dealing with climate change and how to mitigate those effects. I would think that dealing with the business of selling organic products from a conservative store would be much easier to deal with than drawing up legislation for sustainability and climate regulations. It will definitely be interesting to see how environmental lobbyists and politicians will make their voice increasingly heard in the future.

  2. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    Your post finishes with a very interesting point- how just because they sell organic stuff there doesn’t mean you want to buy it from them. It shows how complicated simple decisions are.

  3. cmccartney says:

    I’m really glad you addressed this, because big corporations like Walmart are usually much more far reaching than most people know. I definitely was not aware that they went as far as having their own lobbyists in the Capitol, but it does not surprise me that they have been associated with supporting conservative campaigns. I think as time goes on, Walmart will have to listen to the demands of the customer, regardless of their investors political interests. This will undoubtedly become a struggle of sides as you described, but I think if the consumer demand does not decrease, they will be forced to re-evaluate where they spend the most money. Great post!

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