Walmart is extending its environmental commitments, Doug McMillon, the company’s president and CEO, stated in a blog post, and the retailer is now aiming at becoming a regenerative company.
In application, McMillon characterized regenerative action as restoring, renewing and replenishing in addition to conserving, which Walmart already has worked to do. The company will look to decarbon operations and eliminate waste along the product chain as well as encouraging the adoption of regenerative practices in agriculture, forest management and fisheries while advancing prosperity and equity for customers, associates and people across Walmart’s product supply chains. Regenerating means working with suppliers, customers, NGOs and others to reset the world’s supply chains in a regenerative mode, McMillon pointed out.
Walmart began moving to a more sustainable operating model 15 years ago, he observed. Since then, extreme weather events have increased and critical landscapes have been lost. As a society, McMillon asserted, we are at an inflection point, and if we don’t act now, we may not have an opportunity to do something later. The science is clear and consistent, he maintained: Fossil fuel combustion is the primary cause of global warming, and the world must be more aggressive in moving toward renewable forms of energy. Then, to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world must reduce, avoid and remove greenhouse gas emissions. No longer is it enough to “slow down” climate change and protect what we have left, he insisted. Society must bend the curve on emissions and restore nature.
Walmart is targeting zero emissions in its own operations by 2040, not just in the U.S., but globally, and the company intends to achieve this without carbon offsets by harvesting enough wind, solar and other energy sources to power facilities completely with renewable energy by 2035. It also is moving to cooling equipment that uses low-impact refrigerants and electrifying vehicles, including long-haul trucks.
As with climate, McMillon indicated, Walmart is elevating its ambition as regards nature. Along with the Walmart Foundation, it is committing to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.
By its own actions and supporting those of suppliers and philanthropy, McMillon noted, Walmart will focus on critical landscapes that produce food and other consumer products, aiming to improve how products are sourced, promote the adoption of nature-friendly policies and certifications, continue supporting preservation efforts and investing in place-based partnerships that combine conservation, restoration and sustainable management.