It's green. So what?
I took my mom to Wal-Mart today and wandered the aisles aimlessly while she shopped for stockings. I came across a big free-standing display of Campbell's soup in cans with green labels. Huh?
Odd as this is to start with, Tomato Soup seems the oddest of all. I found myself thinking "What would Andy Warhol think?"
I didn't buy any groceries at Wal-Mart, although I guiltily put a pair of jeans in the shopping cart (I needed them, I was there, and yes, they were cheap). But when I got home I walked to Dave's Supermarket to do my real shopping. With my own cloth bags. So there.
Campbell's Tomato Soup at Dave's was in its regular red and white cans. So what gives? A search of the Campbell's Soup website didn't find any reference to Earth Day, although there's a section describing how condensed soup is earth-friendly because it's in smaller, lighter, recyclable cans.
I've decided that it's probably a Wal-Mart thing, since throughout the store there were other signs proclaiming environmental benefits for various products. There were kids' T-shirts made with organic cotton, and the WalMart brand coffee was available in "Fair Trade" and "Rainforest Alliance" approved varieties.
Wal-Mart has begun pushing "green" in a big way. It's hard to imagine more dramatic goals than what they say on their website:
Wal-Mart’s environmental goals are simple and straightforward: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy; to create zero waste; and to sell products that sustain our natural resources and the environment.
Even without a specific deadline for achieving these goals, 100% renewable energy and zero waste are much more than what other corporations are aiming for.
You can argue, of course, that this is just greenwashing, a way of improving the company's image by talking about the environment without really doing anything substantial. Green labels on soup cans seems to fit this category, although Wal-Mart has taken significant steps to reduce energy use in its stores, cut waste in packaging and more.
As for those cans, a fevered listing on eBay claims:
I CANT FIND THEM IN ANY STORES OR ANYWHERE ELSE ONLINE OR ON EBAY.
THIS COULD JUST BE A MARKETING PROMOTION THAT NEVER QUITE TOOK OFF.
I HAVE NO IDEA IF CAMPBELLS EVER INTENDS TO RELEASE THIS ITEM TO THE PUBLIC.
and starts the bidding at $4.95. I guess I should have bought a case or two while I had the chance.