Now, you knew it would happen. When a company with sustainable products and vision---from its inception---decides to sell to Wal-Mart, there’s bound to be a lot of discussion and controversy in the blogosphere.

That’s why Seventh Generation’s recent announcement that the company will start doing business with Wal-Mart raised eyebrows, questions and plenty of comment, pro and con.

From the company’s own press release: “Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally friendly household products, is embarking on a mission with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) to help make sustainable living more accessible to consumers nationwide, including availability at more than 1,500 Wal-Mart stores and on”

At first blush, this may not seem like a match made in heaven. No doubt hard-core environmentalists and proud tree-huggers everywhere will eschew this new relationship. But should they? Wal-Mart has made a huge, unwavering commitment to becoming a more sustainable retail operation over the past five years. And it has been accomplishing some milestones.

So is there anything wrong with Seventh Generation doing business with the largest retailer in the world? Obviously, it’s a big deal to get distribution into 1,500 retail stores for a small company like Seventh Generation. But a company like this isn’t interested in only top-line sales.

Here’s a huge opportunity to educate the public at large. Here’s a chance to convert more households into purchasing and using environmentally friendly laundry, dishwashing and cleaning products, disinfectants, paper goods, baby care and feminine care products. This is all about getting closer to fulfilling the company’s chief goal: “Protecting Planet Home.”

So why wouldn’t they sell to Wal-Mart? As president Jeffrey Hollender noted on his Seventh Generation Protagonist blog: “Certainly any retreat (by Wal-Mart) on social or environmental progress would trigger some rethinking. Our positions on responsibility, accountability, and transparency aren't subject to change, and we expect our partners to keep working toward these goals.

Question: What do you see as the pros and cons of this new partnership?

I’d love to hear from you.

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni