Eco labels: Wal-Mart's latest move to retain upscale consumers

As Daily Finance's Alex Salkever recently reported, Wal-Mart, America's largest retailer, has launched an extensive eco-labeling initiative. The new green tag program will calculate the environmental cost of producing, packaging, and selling each item. These eco-scores will then be prominently displayed in a clear, easy-to-understand format.

For many Wal-Mart critics, this move will come as a big surprise. Over the years, the company's various detractors have bitterly complained about its foreign-built products, tacky merchandise, and mistreated workers. On a broader, level, however, these critiques have consistently overlooked one key point: the retailer is an incredibly pure representation of the market. Wal-Mart regards its key audience as people who are living from paycheck to paycheck, and makes all of its decisions accordingly. As its key audience has, generally, been focused on spending as little as possible, the company has promoted that goal, allowing other considerations to fall by the wayside.