Greening Walmart: A Retail Giant Reveals Eco Goals
Retail giant Walmart announced its new commitment to sustainable agriculture that will focus on buying more food from small- and medium-sized farmers and buying more from local sellers.
“Through sustainable agriculture, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a positive difference in food production — for farmers, communities and customers. Our efforts will help increase farmer incomes, lead to more efficient use of pesticides, fertilizer and water, and provide fresher produce for our customers,” said Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke.
The new sustainable agriculture strategy involves three goals: support farmers and their communities, produce more food with fewer resources, and gather agricultural resources in a sustainable manner.
The retailer has set a deadline of 2015 to help small- and medium-sized businesses win new work by selling $1 billion in food from 1 million small and medium farmers, training 1 million farmers and farm employees, and by doubling the amount of locally sourced produce it sources and boosting the amount of U.S. crops it buys.
Sustainability measures will also mean Walmart will ask suppliers about water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide per unit of food produced. The retailer will also improve its Sustainability Index’s agriculture focus, starting with a focus on produce, and commit upwards of $1 billion to its global fresh supply chain during the next five years. Walmart also aims to cut food waste in the emerging market stores and clubs by 15%, and 10% in stores and clubs in other markets, all by 2015.
Other goals include better farming practices in an effort to cut deforestation of the rainforests and greenhouse gas emissions. By 2015, Walmart private brands will include sustainably sourced palm oil and Walmart will commit to sourcing beef that does not contribute to deforestation of the Amazon.
Other goals including getting 50% percent of its produce in India from its Direct Farm Program, upgrading 15% of the direct farm products in China from Green to certified organic, cutting in-store waste in Japan by 35%, hiking the number of produce farmers it gets product from directly by 2,000 to 17,000, and buying 30% of the produce locally in Canada. In the U.S., it aims to double the sales of locally grown food.