Wal-Mart “Coke Shirts”

As any aspiring “green” consumer knows, it’s not easy being green. No matter how much you want to help save the planet, economics often prevail. It’s simply cheaper to abuse the Earth than to buy pricey products that claim to promote sustainable living. That’s why Wal-Mart’s sustainability efforts, promoted this month in a new campaign timed to Earth Month, seem so promising. Here, two teen girls talk about their new Coca-Cola-branded T-shirts, made with RPET, a material made out of recycled products. The T-shirts cost “under eight bucks, seriously!” explains one. “They’re made with cotton and, get this-recycled Coke bottles,” adds her friend, wearing an “Enjoy Coke” shirt. Like other spots in the company’s environmentally focused advertising, the spot tallies up the difference Wal-Mart consumers could make. If all 200 million of “us” bought them, they note, “it’ll be like recycling over half a billion plastic bottles.” When a corporate giant like Wal-Mart touts its environmental efforts, it’s easy to be cynical. Of course, the messaging sure does prop up positive perceptions about the brand, but when more than 50 products featuring various aspects of sustainability-from energy conservation to waste reduction-are showcased on the retailer’s store shelves this month, it’s hard not to commend the company’s commitment to the cause. –Eleftheria Parpis