Walmart Touts Sustainability Progress

As part of its sustainability goals, Wal-Mart Stores said it has fulfilled commitments to reduce 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain, double fleet efficiency and expand an existing commitment to preserve wildlife habitats. 

Walmart also noted that it had received an award from Partnership for a Healthier America for its opening stores in so-called food deserts— areas where major grocery retailers are in short supply.

In its efforts to promote sustainable food and nutrition, Walmart has focused on four issues: increasing access to food, improving food affordability, making healthier eating easier and improving safety and transparency in the supply chain.

In terms of access, Walmart, in 2011, committed to opening up to 300 stores serving United States Department of Agriculture-designated food deserts. By the end of January 2015, Walmart had exceeded its goal, and a year earlier than planned, by opening 375 stores, the company maintained.

As for affordability, beginning in 2011, Walmart began efforts to help customers save on healthy food, providing $1 billion in annual savings on fresh produce, the company asserted. Walmart has exceeded the stated commitment year over year, so far providing over $4.69 billion in customer savings to date.

As part of its effort in transparency in making healthy eating easier, Walmart committed in 2011 to reduce sodium by 25% across its assortment, added sugars by 10% and to eliminate industrially produced transfats in private label and national brand packaged foods sold in company’s stores. So far, Walmart has reduced sodium in the assortment by more than 16%, reduced added sugars by over 10% and ensured that fewer than 6% of the food items it sells contain partially hydrogenated oils. Walmart also created a Great For You front-of-pack seal, which now makes a statement on more than 30% of the company’s private label products, and helps customers easily identify more nutritious choices.

“Today we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the launch of our sustainability agenda,” said Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO. “We’re proud to recognize the progress we continue to make every day, and we’re excited about what we hope to accomplish in the next 10 years and beyond. Our company has made major strides since we embarked on this journey, and our focus for the next decade will remain the same: doing the right thing for our customers, our communities, people working in the supply chain and the planet. Our approach to global responsibility not only makes sense for the environment, but it’s also good for our customers, and our business.”