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A few entries back, I wrote a bit about WalMart’s move to green electricity in Ontario. Only a few weeks later, the world’s biggest retailer is back in the environmental news.

To the cheers of some and the jeers of others, WalMart has announced it plans to begin selling more organic food at some outlets. Those who are optimistic hope this will increase demand for organic foods and help bring down prices to make organics more competitive with commercially produced foods. Those who are skeptical are worrying that WalMart may use its massive buying power to lower the standards of what is considered organic.

The definition is already somewhat blurry, and although there are various standards and organizations that are attempting to enforce what is organic and what is not, not all food labelled “organic” is equal. I share concerns that the word “organic” written on a package may become as meaningless as the word “lite” became a decade or two ago.

Meanwhile, on the the other side of the pond, WalMart is ruffling some feathers in England with plans to build a giant retail store on top of an already existing farmer’s market. The article is a few weeks old, coinciding with the release of the High Cost of Low Price documentary in the UK. The accents may be different, but the fears are familiar. England still has many more small retailers than does North America, and they are looking at what has happened in the United States and fearing the same for their country.



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