In its report, the world’s biggest retail company outlines its achievements and reinforces the company’s goals to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy, create zero waste and sell products that sustain people and the environment.
Walmart recently released its sixth annual Global Responsibility Report (GRR), titled “The Responsibility to Lead.” In addition to accomplishments and progress in the areas of social, company and environmental responsibility, the report highlights Walmart’s top achievements in 2012 to reduce its impact on the environment and improve efficiency in its stores, clubs, distribution centers and throughout the supply chain.
“We believe our customers should not have to choose between affordability and sustainability,” said Andrea Thomas, Walmart’s senior vice president of sustainability. “The accomplishments we are sharing today represent Walmart’s focus on our customers, our business and our communities. We will continue to deliver on our commitment to operate responsibly while continuing to provide our customers around the world with everyday low costs.”
Among the accomplishments reported in the Global Responsibility Report are the following:
Focus on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
- Recognized as largest on-site green power generator in the U.S.: In 2012, the EPA Green Power Partnership recognized Walmart as the largest on-site green power generator in the U.S., with more than 200 solar projects across the country. In addition, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) cited Walmart as the most-installed onsite solar capacity in the U.S. Last year alone, Walmart installed 100 rooftop solar installations in locations such as Arizona, California, and Ohio, as well a 1-MW utility-scale wind turbine at a distribution center in California. Announced last week, the new commitments are to scale renewables by producing or procuring 7 billion kWh of renewable energy annually and to reduce the total kWh per square foot energy intensity required to power our buildings by 20 per cent by 2020.
- Accelerated global transition to renewable energy and improved energy efficiency: Renewable energy now provides 21 per cent of Walmart’s electricity globally. Since our last report Walmart Mexico started construction on two utility-scale wind projects and two micro-hydro projects, while Walmart India installed its first solar water heaters and Walmart Chile launched its first large-scale renewable RFP to begin the process of introducing renewable projects to local operations.
- Took on, and beat, GHG emissions: Since the last report, Walmart fulfilled a pledge made in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 per cent by 2012, a year ahead of schedule. Our new renewable energy and efficiency commitments will avoid 3 million metric tons of CO2e, the equivalent of taking 625,000 cars off the road, in effect halting the growth of GHG emissions from the company’s largest GHG source – energy used to power buildings – by 2020, even though we still anticipate growth in stores and sales. We are also on track to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from our global supply chain by the end of 2015.
- Drove fewer miles while delivering more product: In 2012, we delivered almost 297 million more cases while driving almost 11 million fewer miles, increasing fleet efficiency by 10 per cent to in 2012 alone and 80 per cent since 2005. Since every mile not driven equals fuel savings, our efficiency saved almost $130 million and avoided emitting almost 103,000 metric tons of CO2 avoided, about the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road.
Taking Steps to Sell More Sustainable Products
- Committed to scaling the Sustainability Index and helped to launch TSC in China: Walmart began the work of launching and integrating the Sustainability Index, exceeding the goal to launch the Index with buyers and suppliers in 100 categories last year. Today, the Index is being used in 190 categories and we will continue to roll it out across other categories this year. In October 2012, Walmart announced a series of new commitments to make our supply chain more sustainable. Among them was a commitment to, by 2017, buy 70 percent of the goods sold in U.S. Walmart and Sam’s Club locations from suppliers who use the Index to evaluate their products. Another commitment was to use the Index to influence the design of U.S. private-brand products beginning this year; and tying Walmart U.S. buyers’ evaluations to sustainability objectives. The Walmart Foundation also provided a $2 million grant to help support the launch of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) in China, to help provide training and develop partnerships that will build capacity for TSC’s tools to improve sustainability.
- Met goals to source seafood sustainably in the U.S.: Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. met their sustainable seafood goal requiring all fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood products sold to be certified as sustainable by a third-party or require uncertified fisheries to develop plans to achieve certification and report progress.
Moving Forward in Zero Waste Efforts
- Reduced global plastic shopping bag waste: In 2012, we exceeded our target to reduce our global plastic shopping bag waste by reducing bag waste globally by 38.1 per cent, more than the targeted 33 per cent, and did so ahead of schedule. In fact, in Brazil alone we reduced plastic bag consumption by more than 50 per cent thanks to customer programs and support for reusable bags.
- Optimising packaging to meet our goals: Working with our suppliers, manufacturers and other key stakeholders, we recently met our goal to reduce packaging by 5 per cent by 2013, months ahead of schedule. By focusing on the GHG emissions that result from each unit of packaging we use, our suppliers have partnered with us to reduce the overall GHG impact of our packaging by an average of 9.8 per cent in our Walmart U.S. stores, 9.1 percent in our Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. and 16 per cent in our Walmart Canada stores.