Walmart makes sustainability gains

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Walmart makes sustainability gains

By Dan Berthiaume - 05/08/2019
Walmart is reporting progress in areas such as emissions, renewable energy, and human rights.

In its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, Walmart said it reduced scopes 1 and 2 annual greenhouse gas emissions by 6.1% in 2017 compared to 2015 levels. Walmart also said it has made advancements in its global Project Gigaton effort that asks suppliers to help avoid 1 billion metric tons of emissions in the company’s collective value chains by 2030. Suppliers reporting avoiding more than 93 million metric tons of emissions over the last two years.

In addition, as part of Walmart’s goal of being supplied by 50% renewable energy by 2025, 28% of Walmart’s electricity needs are now supplied by renewable sources.

Other sustainability areas where Walmart is reporting progress include:

Mitigating waste: In 2018 in the U.S., Walmart diverted 81% of unsold products, packaging and other waste materials from landfills. Walmart also recycled more than 430 million pounds of plastic film and rigid plastics globally.

Sourcing responsibly: To help address worker safety issues in the Bangladesh ready-made garment industry, Walmart became a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety in 2013. The Alliance concluded its five-year commitment on December 31, 2018, and Walmart reports significant progress, including 90% of high-priority remediation items completed across all factories affiliated with the Alliance.

Sustainability Index: As of the end of fiscal 2019, Walmart achieved a supplier Sustainability Index participation rate that covers 80% of the goods Walmart sells in U.S. stores and Sam’s Club locations for categories where the Sustainability Index is available.

Advancing economic mobility: Walmart promoted more than 215,000 people to jobs of greater responsibility and higher pay in Walmart U.S. stores in fiscal 2019.

Fostering inclusion: 31% of Walmart’s corporate officers are women, 44% of associates with revenue responsibility are women, and 57% of hourly promotions were women. Of the 800,000 Walmart U.S. store associates that have been through the Walmart Academy, 60% of those trained were women. Additionally, 34% of associates with revenue responsibility are people of color.

Wages and benefits: Walmart says the average total compensation and benefits for a full-time, hourly field associate in Walmart U.S. stores is $19.31 as of March 2019.

“Through ESG initiatives, our goal is not only minimizing our own footprint or mitigating risk, but to inspire collective action to help transform the sector for long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s chief sustainability officer. “We’re engaged in efforts to source responsibly, create economic opportunity for retail associates and people working in supply chains, take action on climate change, and help improve sustainability of the products we sell.”

Walmart also announced the release of its annual update https://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/environmental-social-and-governance on ethics and compliance, which focuses on enhancements the company has made to its Global Ethics and Compliance Program over the years, as well as the launch of Walmart.org, a new website featuring the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.

Walmart’s ESG report is available at Walmart.com/ESGreport.

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