Urban Fold

The Champion Of Wal-Mart

Michael Mills is not what you might expect out of Wal-Mart's southern spokesman.

"He talks the environmental talk, having toiled on such sacred-to-the-left issues as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. He wants buildings constructed with more attention to energy and conservation -- and actually thumped his chest when he reported two new Wal-Marts were built last year conforming to such stringent standards. He tutors kids at risk for dropping into the pit of poverty and despair. He's been active in the League of Women Voters and has labored on get-out-the-vote drives with a group headed by Rebecca Lieberman, the daughter of Sen. Joe."

"'It's easy to sleep at night,' he says while sipping a latte at a downtown Atlanta Starbucks -- and looking like he could be the urbane, hip, wired poster child for the coffee dealer. 'I know, I know that there are a lot of good things we're doing, and to me it's a lot of fun getting that word out, breaking preconceptions.' As an example, Mills handed out $8.5 million in charitable contributions in Georgia last year -- this year, he'll be playing Johnny Appleseed around the Southeast.

Or, he beams, 'We're expanding by 20 percent our fleet's mileage, and we've put in place a program to reduce waste at stores by 25 percent. How can anyone argue with actions like that?'"

Full Story: Wal-Mart's evangelist

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