Walmart Inc. recently issued its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, which details the company’s goals, progress and achievements for fiscal year 2019 toward its commitment to increase economic opportunity for associates and local communities, build sustainability in supply chains and activate climate change initiatives.
Walmart is disclosing progress to date in several areas including:
Activating Climate Change Initiatives
- Climate Change Impact Scenario Analysis: Walmart worked with an independent third-party consultant to better understand the nature of climate change and potential implications for the retail sector aiming to align with the scenario guidance set forth by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Walmart reports a 6.1% reduction in Scopes 1 and 2 annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 compared with 2015.
- Project Gigaton: Walmart made advancements on its Project Gigaton goals with suppliers reporting avoiding more than 93 million metric tons of emissions over the last two years. Launched in 2017, Project Gigaton is a global effort that invites suppliers to join Walmart in a commitment to avoid 1 billion metric tons of emissions in the company’s collective value chains by 2030.
- Using Renewable Energy: As part of Walmart’s goal of being supplied by 50% renewable energy by 2025, 28% of Walmart’s electricity needs are supplied by renewable sources.
- Mitigating Waste: In 2018 in the US, Walmart diverted 81% of unsold products, packaging and other waste materials from landfills. Walmart also recycled more than 430 million pounds of plastic film and rigid plastics globally.
Enhancing Sustainability in Supply Chains
- Human Rights: The ESG Report includes a discussion of salient human rights issues and progress on related initiatives within the company and through collective action, building on the human rights statement the company published last year bringing together in one place the company’s perspective on respecting human rights in its operations and supply chains.
- Sourcing Responsibly: To help address worker safety issues in the Bangladesh ready-made garment industry, Walmart became a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety in 2013. The Alliance concluded its five-year commitment on December 31, 2018 and saw 90% of high-priority remediation items completed across all factories affiliated with the Alliance.
- Sustainability Index: As of the end of FY2019, Walmart achieved a supplier Sustainability Index participation rate that covers 80% of the goods Walmart sells in US stores and Sam’s Club locations for categories where the Sustainability Index is available.
Just last month, Walmart announced that for the first time, checkout carousels at its US stores will include reusable bags that will be available to customers for purchase. According to the retailer, the aim of this new campaign is to help reduce plastic waste and increase customer convenience by placing reusable bags in easy to find and highly frequented sections of its stores. As part of the launch, Walmart is rolling out a new assortment of reusable bags that are made with post-consumer recycled content.
The reusable bag initiative will begin rolling out to stores this month and follows a recent announcement by Walmart on a series of plastic waste reduction goals that seek to advance the sustainability of the retailer’s private brand packaging by making it 100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025.
The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.