Getting Personal

The Personal Sustainability Project, or PSP, that Werbach and his firm, Act Now, are running for Wal-Mart is intended to help the company's 1.3 million employees see how sustainability—defined very broadly as "having enough for now, while not harming the future"—relates to their own lives. Here's the strategy:

The first step: Every store in a given region sends two volunteers to a daylong paid session, led by Act Now trainers, to talk about what sustainability means to them in their personal lives. Each of the 60 or so participants picks one simple action—an individual PSP—that will improve his or her life and benefit the planet.

Spreading the gospel: Back at the store, each volunteer recruits 10 coworkers, and, using DVDs and guides prepared by Act Now, helps them focus on their own PSPs and trains them to introduce the program to other employees.

Follow-up: To complement the person-to-person approach, the company distributes If, an in-house magazine produced by Act Now, and runs a TV show called PSPTV in employees' break rooms.

Keeping track: So far, Werbach's Act Now team has completed 150 seminars, with volunteers from 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. Every store sends weekly progress reports to Act Now.

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