Walter Robb at WSU

On April 3, 2012, Walter Robb spoke about doing good in a global marketplace in a public talk at Washington State University. He discussed "Toward a More Sustainable View of Business: A Retailer's Perspective;" the event was sponsored by the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

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Corinne Carrey says …

Hi Walter, I wanted to make a suggestion. And since there isn't a comment box I decided to leave it here. Under the topic of conscious capitalism (also including consumerism). This afternoon I shopped at your thousand oaks location. After making my purchase I realized that I didn't need a receipt. An idea sparked and I wanted to share it with the manager. Since Whole Foods is trying to find new ways to be green why not start at the cashier? I believe having an option to print or not to print your receipt could be this new way. A lot food transactions are for immediate consumption and therefore receipts aren't needed. I bet if you asked your customers if they needed their receipts most would say no. Saving trees and costs. Lots of smaller stores already have this receipt option in place. However Whole Foods could be the front runner for all large companies. In very few cases someone would buy spoilt food without a receipt and may have resistant when trying to exchange or refund. A solution to this I leave with you. However on a larger scale - the amount of people not taking receipts would be much greater then people returning food. A thought myself and the manager Lauren wanted to share with you. Thank you for your time. Corinne

Lynea says …

Dear Mr. Robb, I have been a Whole Foods customer for about 10 years, both in California where I now live and on the East Coast where I grew up. Because I have appreciated the range of presumably health- and socially-conscious products and foods that Whole Foods offers, I have supported the store without much consideration of your company's domestic labor practices and stance towards unions. While the company appears to make efforts to engage in fair-trade practices with foreign growers and farmers, perhaps to satisfy the progressive values and lifestyle choices of many of the WF's customers, it does not appear that the company is interested in equitable and worker-friendly policies in the United States. For me, this reveals a level of hypocrisy in WF's corporate values that I do not want to support. So, while I am sad that I will no longer be able to buy many of the items I typically purchase at WFs, nor will I enjoy your buffets, or the visual and visceral experience of shopping there - I will feel much better supporting my local, cooperatively run and/or unionized organic markets in San Francisco where both owners and workers understand that collective bargaining, particularly in the context of very large and powerful employers such as Whole Foods and Walmart is an important and necessary part of a healthy and equitable market-driven economy. L