Associates' Personal Sustainability Projects
Wal-Mart's voluntary Personal Sustainability Project (PSP) program was developed by associates, for associates, as an outlet for them to embrace our Company-wide commitment to sustainability as a business philosophy and as a responsible way to oper- ate. As part of the program, associates have chosen to adopt habits that positively impact the environment, their communities, and their own personal health and well-being, as well as the health and habits of their families.
PSPs can be anything from pledging to recycle, to eating healthier or getting outdoors more. Since the program began, nearly 20,000 associates have quit smoking; together, they have recycled 3 million pounds of plastic; as a group, they have lost more than 184,000 pounds and walked, biked or swam more than 1.1 million miles — that's a distance of at least two trips to the moon.
More than 500,000 associates in the U.S. tell us that they have adopted a PSP. We expect that number to continue to grow in the U.S. and around the world. In 2008, the program was launched in several of our international markets, including Brazil, Canada and Japan – in fact, more than half of Wal-Mart associates in Brazil already have PSPs.
Since the program's inception, our associates have really come to understand the tremendous value and importance of sustainable thinking, and the enormous potential we have as one collective enterprise to bring about positive change in the world around us.
Frank, Nykile and Brian's Story
Lee Scott once said that we should never underestimate what our associates can do when they get behind something.
This sentiment certainly sums up the efforts of Sam's Club associates Frank Harman, Nykile Pritchett and Brian Boles. In January 2008, Frank, a manager in our call center in the Home Office in Bentonville, was pondering his New Year's Resolution. At 310 pounds, he was worried about his health and was slowly making the decision to focus on living a healthier lifestyle.
As they say, sometimes things just fall into place. That very week, Frank received an e-mail from one of his co-workers, Nykile. Nykile was organizing a competition among associates. The rules were simple. The associate who lost the greatest percentage of body fat between January and April would be named the winner. Frank threw his name in the hat.
"The rest is history," says Frank.
Nykile's e-mail made its way around the Home Office and 15 interested associates — including Frank and Brian — quickly bonded as each individual began to focus on eating healthier and working out.
"We would see each other at the gym and start talking about the things we were doing to make changes in our lives," Brian says.
As April approached, Brian and Frank found themselves leading the pack in the competition. Brian eventually was named the winner, having lost more than 60 pounds from his starting weight of 270 pounds.
"He beat me by one pound," says Frank, whose weight is now under 200. "But I was content with that because I knew I was going to keep going. After four months of our group challenge, this was no longer just a competition for me. It was a new lifestyle."
Beyond the amazing physical changes the men have experienced as a result of their challenge, they have found something even more important and harder to measure — friendship. All three still make it a point to check in with each other and often find themselves side-by-side in the weights room at the Walton Life Fitness Center.
"I started the challenge thinking it would be great to have a support group around me as I was setting out to lose weight. But it turned out to be a great way to network. I'm so pleased to have met new people around the Company and that I've made so many new friends," says Nykile.