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Wal-Mart C.E.O. Details Environmental Initiatives

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's chief executive, yesterday provided more details about the retailer's initiatives to become a "good steward for the environment," including plans to become more energy-efficient, cut down on waste, and reduce greenhouse gases. The comments came from a transcript of Scott's speech made to employees on Monday, which also included a vow to provide lower-priced health care.

"As one of the largest companies in the world, with an expanding global presence, environmental problems are our problems," Scott said in the speech, titled "21st Century Leadership."

He said the company aims to increase fuel efficiency in its truck fleet by 25 percent over three years and double it within 10 years, invest $500 million annually in efficient energy technologies at stores, and cut solid waste from U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs by 25 percent in three years.

The plan has been developed based on input from Wal-Mart's employees, suppliers, critics, and customers, said Lee.

The speech follows Wal-Mart's announcement last week that it will hold its global suppliers more accountable on sustainability.

In his speech on Monday, Scott also urged Congress yesterday to look at raising the U.S. minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, which hasn't been increased in nearly a decade.

He additionally provided employees initial details of a lower-premium health care plan aimed at making coverage more affordable. Meanwhile Scott outlined plans to boost diversity among Wal-Mart's more than 60,000 suppliers and in its work force.

Scott's latest speech coincides with a two-day annual conference for financial analysts.
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