World’s largest company. World’s largest healthcare bill.

Also, the world’s greatest opportunity to save money on healthcare

Walmart logoHave you noticed the Walmart ads for the improved assortment of fruits and veggies in the produce department? Now, all they need to do to save a few billion dollars a year is to influence their 2.2 million employees to eat more of them.

As for the tagline of “Save Money. Live Better.” What better way to do both than to teach all of their associates how to take charge of their own health? So I decided to write a letter to the CEO and open his eyes to a revolutionary way to REALLY save money and live better like he may have never imagined.

Like my letter to the CEO of CostCo two weeks ago, here’s my letter that went out today via Priority Mail along with a copy of our book and a hard copy of our 4Leaf Corporate Wellness vision document. (Still no response to my 6-7-13 letter to Mr. Jelinek at CostCo)

      • Friday, June 21, 2013
      • Mr. Mike Duke, CEO
      • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
      • Subject: Slashing the cost of healthcare in businesses
Mike Duke standing among the foods that could help save Walmart save a few billion dollars a year.

Mike Duke standing among the foods that could help Walmart save a few billion dollars a year.

Dear Mr. Duke,

Your new ads for fresh produce caught my attention and I have become a much more frequent Walmart customer as a result. Now that you have the healthiest foods at the lowest possible prices always, I am writing to propose a meeting with you to discuss how you can save billions by influencing your Walmart associates to eat more of those foods.

Your estimated cost of healthcare. With over two million employees, I estimate that Walmart’s annual cost of healthcare is north of five billion dollars. Not only are you the largest company in the world, you probably have the world’s largest healthcare bill.

The good news is that you have a greater opportunity to save money on healthcare than any other company in the world. And from what I read about your management style, you could be the right person at the right time—to show the entire world how to tame the healthcare monster that is crippling so many of our businesses and governments. From a 2010 Fortune article, your “vintage Duke” approach to problems was described thusly:

Study a problem; take action. 

How about healthcare? Did you know that our unhealthy food choices are driving up to 80% of the cost of healthcare in the USA? That means that you could conceivably eliminate several billion dollars of expense—enabling you to take those lowest prices even lower.

Who am I and how can I help? Like you, I studied Industrial Engineering at a southern university in the late 60’s, graduating from Auburn in 1968. Later, I earned an MBA from the University of Hawaii while on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard. Since then, most of my career has been devoted to improving profitability in numerous enterprises by eliminating waste in diverse companies like Sears, ITT, and Holiday Inns. My last executive position was EVP of Operations with Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation.

So what’s that got to do with the cost of healthcare? It’s a long story that I can explain when we meet. The attached “vision” document outlines our detailed approach to helping you lower your cost of healthcare by anywhere from 15% to 50%. Those are VERY big dollars at Walmart and I would like the opportunity to review our brand new approach to corporate wellness with you in person.

As you can see from my website (, I am now directing my “waste reduction” skills to a new arena, focusing on an issue that may be the most important issue in the history of the world. I am talking about our food choices and the collective impact that they have on our health, our cost of healthcare, our environment—and, ultimately, the long-term sustainability of the human species.

Since 1960, the cost of health care in the United States as a percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) has risen sharply from 5.2% in 1960 to the 18% that we have today. Most of this huge problem is driven by our food choices—and it’s still getting worse. I have concluded that our only way out of this mess is for the CEOs of America to take the lead. That’s because corporate CEOs, like yourself, are the only prominent leaders in our nation with a strong financial incentive for all of their employees to be healthy. 

Corporate Wellness. The 4Leaf vision of a whole new ballgame

Corporate Wellness. The 4Leaf vision of a whole new ballgame

In developing our attached “corporate wellness” vision document, I drew heavily on the counsel of my friend Paul Allaire, the former CEO of Xerox. Now retired, he is a strong believer in the approach outlined in our book and has made it very clear to me that this kind of initiative does not have a prayer unless the top guy is driving it.

We agree. That’s why I am writing directly to you. By the way, Mr. Allaire provided the following endorsement that appears on the back cover of our book (which is attached):

“We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables—with this book, we now know why. The authors make a well-documented case for why it is important for your personal health and why it is critical for the health of the planet. A compelling book; it is both informative and a pleasure to read!” —Paul Allaire, Fortune 100 CEO (Xerox, 1990–1999)

Please take a look at the attached document; then let’s meet in person to discuss. On the last page of the enclosed document, you will see a summary of my credentials for helping you take billions of dollars a year out of your cost of health care—while yielding a healthier, happier and more productive workforce as a fringe benefit.  I think your Walmart customers would approve. 

As for Save Money. Live Better. There is simply no better way to do both than to teach all of your associates how to take charge of their own health. As for Walmart’s emphasis on sustainability, influencing your associates to adopt plant-based eating will do more good than ALL of your current sustainability initiatives—combined.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon; please call me at 917-399-9700. 


J. Morris (Jim) Hicks

PS: There are only two prominent CEOs (to my knowledge) who are doing anything close to resembling what I describe in the attached “vision” document. They are John Mackey at Whole Foods Market and Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the City of Chicago. And, in both cases, their cost of healthcare is going down.

ATTACHMENT. 4Leaf Corporate Wellness—Vision Document

Phillip Wollen---argues in Australia for taking meat off the menu.

Phillip Wollen—one of Australia’s most prominent citizens (former Citibank to exec)

Endorsement from down under. After reading my similar letter to the CostCo CEO, my friend Philip Wollen (former Citibank top executive in Australia) sent me this note; gotta just love that second line.

Dear Jim,

You have written a powerful document. Any CEO who does not read it with a racing pulse should be fired.

At the very least, any CEO worth his/her salt should assign the task of meeting you to a key executive responsible directly to the CEO. . . . . . .with a requirement that he addresses all your issues and makes a recommendation (one way or another) to the CEO within 60 days.

Philip Wollen

Click here to hear Philip’s fiery 10-minute speech from down under—the best 10-minute summary of our international food/health/sustainability dilemma that I have ever heard.

The Bottom Line. Eventually, some of our nation’s most enlightened CEOs will embrace the 4Leaf Corporate Wellness Solution. Soon, they will begin to reap staggering savings in healthcare expenditures AND the improved productivity of a healthier workforce. Ultimately those CEOs who don’t choose to truly promote health in the workplace will no longer be able to compete with those who do.

Send this blog to the CEOs of corporations where you are a shareholder. Ultimately, they work for you. Please ask them to give me a call. 917-399-9700.

Changing 2.2 million Walmart associates to plant-based eating will do much more for sustainability than all of their other initiatives combined. Mr. Duke, you are in an ideal position to "make a HUGE difference with sustainability."

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

SHARE and rate this post below.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, Corporate Wellness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to World’s largest company. World’s largest healthcare bill.

  1. Kathy kidwell says:

    Walmart does not cover all their employees

  2. Irene says:

    It’s great that you keep reaching out to the CEOs of large companies that can have a huge impact if they were to implement your suggestions. Perhaps you can follow-up to your letters by telling them about the Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA that is coming up the first week of July.

  3. Joanne Irwin says:

    One of these days………..a CEO will respond. Keep the faith!!

  4. Penny says:

    Fantastic approach Jim.

    I applaud you on your vision and action.

    I did an 8 week corporate program for a business in Essex, and it was most rewarding.

    I love that you are taking this to the top most level.

    Much success to you.

    Sent from my iPhone Penny Smyth, RN, CHHC New Beginnings Health Coaching 860 867-6621 Lyme, CT.

  5. Charlene says:

    love it!!!  I quit shopping at Walmart b/c not many organic things available, but maybe now they’ll do better.  I certainly hope he listens to you and you get a good response.  That would be so awesome!!  

    >________________________________ > From: “J. Morris Hicks, author” >To: >Sent: Friday, June 21, 2013 1:13 PM >Subject: [New post] World’s largest company. World’s largest healthcare bill. > > > > >J. Morris Hicks posted: “Also, the world’s greatest opportunity to save money on healthcare Have you noticed the Walmart ads for the improved assortment of fruits and veggies in the produce department? Now, all they need to do to save a few billion dollars a year is to influence” >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s