Walmart focuses on renewable energy, inclusion, COVID-19

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart mobile pickup

Walmart’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities include climate action, inclusive hiring and promotions, and COVID-19 remediation.

The discount giant has released its 2021 ESG report. Highlights of what Walmart says are steps it is taking toward becoming a “regenerative” company include:

  • Climate and nature: Walmart made environmental non-profit CDP’s ‘A List’ for climate action, sourcing an estimated 36% of its electricity needs from renewable energy. Through Project Gigaton, 3,100 suppliers reported a cumulative 416 million metric tons (MMT) of avoided emissions since 2017. Walmart has set 2040 as its target date to achieve zero emissions in global operations and committed to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030.
  • Inclusive opportunity: In the U.S. during 2020, Walmart provided an average of $19.50 an hour in total compensation to hourly associates; promoted more than 300,000 people, with 46% of promotions going to people of color; and began twice-yearly disclosure of diversity data. The company also established Shared Value Networks to help eradicate systemic racism through business initiatives and, alongside the Walmart Foundation, committed $100 million over five years to support philanthropic efforts through the Center for Racial Equity.
  • COVID-19 response: Walmart altered operating practices, expanded pickup services from 1,500 to 3,500 sites, and administered COVID-19 tests and vaccines. Together with the Walmart Foundation, the company also donated over $43 million in cash and in-kind for pandemic response.
  • Governance: Walmart refreshed its Code of Conduct and related policies in an attempt to further foster a culture of accountability, transparency and trust. The retailer also enhanced disclosure of its board diversity, digital citizenship and public policy engagement.

“The challenges facing business and society require collective action from us all,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, executive VP and chief sustainability officer, Walmart Inc. and president, Walmart Foundation, in a corporate blog postThe pandemic demonstrated how small but widespread changes in individual behavior can produce large-scale, positive effects. We believe businesses can be part of the solution and, as a stakeholder in Walmart, your collaboration on this journey is key to meeting the challenges of our time. We look forward to facilitating positive change, together.”