Walmart targets suppliers to help cut a gigaton of emissions

24 April 2017

Walmart has launched a “sustainability platform” that will invite its suppliers to join the retail giant in pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions from operations and supply chains.

At its annual Milestone Summit, the firm said an emissions reduction toolkit named Project Gigaton would be given to suppliers, with the aim of reducing one gigaton of emissions by 2030—the equivalent to removing 211m passenger vehicles from US roads for one year.

As part of the goal Walmart said it would also look to reduce emissions in its own operations by 18% by 2025.

Laura Phillips, Walmart’s senior vice president for sustainability, said the company had big plans to increase sustainability throughout their supply chain.

“We’ve made progress in our own operations, but this is taking us deeper into our supply chain,” she said.

“We need our top suppliers to take more action.”

Phillips added the bulk of the reduction would come from suppliers including General Mills, Campbell Soup Company and Unilever.

“Through the years, we’ve seen that integrating sustainable practices into our operations improves business performance, spurs technological innovation, inspires brand loyalty and boosts employee sustainability,” she said.

“Our suppliers recognise this opportunity to realise those same benefits in their businesses and by working together on such an ambitious goal, we can accelerate progress without our respective companies and deep in our shared supply chains.”

The company had already set itself the goal of being supplied by 100% renewable energy and to achieve zero waste across its global operations, according to Bloomberg.

Walmart is also a member of RE100 climate group, an initiative made up of some of the world’s biggest businesses, which are committed to renewable power.

During the project’s launch, the retail giant identified six areas where suppliers could focus their clean energy efforts—agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation and product use and design.

To ensure their goals are met, Walmart is working with non governmental organisations including WWF and the Environmental Defense Fund to help suppliers track their progress. 

Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF, said the project was a testament to the impact that leaders of industry could have on the environment.

“Supply chains are the new frontier of sustainability,” he said. 

“As more companies follow in the footsteps of Walmart and their suppliers, we can achieve the critical mass needed to address climate change.”

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