The buying power of the huge US retailer, Wal-Mart, has been a major factor in forcing down the price of Chinese manufactured imports. Now Wal-Mart has turned its focus to improving the environmental and energy standards of the products it buys in sells.

Chief Executive, Lee Scott, today outlined plans to insist that its suppliers make its most energy-intensive products, such as computers,mnicrowaves and water heaters,  25% more efficient within three years and cut the power consumed by flat-screen televisions by 30% by 2010.  He said that Wal-Mart would be willing to pay higher prices for such products. All foreign suppliers who make goods for Wal-Mart would be required to meet stringent environmental standards within five years.

He also said that the Company was talking to automobile manufactures about a possible role in the electric and hybrid vehicle industry – and even considering the possibility of installing solar panels or wind turbines at Wal-Mart stores to allow customers to charge electric vehicles.