Walmart Announces Significant Progress Toward Sustainability Goals in 2012

In a recent report release by Walmart the reveal their top 10 list of achievements to help reduce its impact on the environment. The annual Global Responsibility Report, titled "Beyond 50 Years: Building a Sustainable Future". The company is also working to improve the effiecincy in their supply chain and stores, as well as look at social issues. The report outlines three major goals:

  1. Use 100 percent renewable energy
  2. Create zero waste
  3. Sell products that sustain people and the environment

Mike Duke, Walmart CEO and President, is excited about the chances they've made and the significant results they're seeing. He also expresses their ambitious goals are a great way to challenge them to make a commitment for making long-term, meaningful changes globally throughout their company. As with all undertakings Duke acknowledges that progress is slow in some areas and temporary challenges have presented themselves. This merely fires their commitment and strengthens their plan to make big changes. 

The top ten achievements include:

Reduce waste by 80 percent - In 2011, their waste operations prevented 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Their zero-waste landfill program costs the company $231 million last year to carry out, but has increased recycling revenue and decreased costs. They are making a global difference with a 52 percent of operational waste diverted from landfills in China and Brazil. 

Expand Amount of Locally Grown Produce Sales - They define "locally grown" as produce grown and sold within the same state. With the changes made in this area 10 percent of all produce sold is locally grown.

Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative - In 2011 Walmart announced this program with the goal of expanding their relationships with women-owned businesses in the U.S. and doubling their global sourcing. The Walmart Foundation has given out more than $100 million in grants to support this program.

Save Customers Money - In 2011 Walmart achieved their goal of saving customer money on fresh fruits and vegetables, to the tune of $1 billion. In 2012, they will continue to offer the same savings and work to offer more healthy food choices in all areas of their fresh food departments.

Great for You Icon - In 2012, they premiered their Great for You Icon. This icon helps customers quickly note which products are healthy food options. Combined with the nutrition information its easier than ever for consumers to find what they need to keep their family healthy.

Use 1.1 Billion kWh Renewable Energy - Walmart is now ranked at the second-largest onsite green power generator in the United States as ranked by the United States' EPA Green Power Partnership program. This renewable energy supplies a total of 4 percent of the electricity for Walmart buildings on a global size. Walmart has created and is executing 180 different projects to continue to expand their use of renewable energy throughout the entire company. 

Sustainability Index - In 2011, Walmart announced its Sustainability Index. This tool helps improve sustainability of their products. They have worked in tandem with the Sustainability Consortium consisting of more than 90 people. These members are from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and ideas. They are designing their first scorecards to be used in this program. The scorecards will include 100 major categories to be premiered by the end of 2012.

Direct Farm Program - They are expanding their direct farm program to include more local farmers in their network. This will work in conjunction with their programs to provide more local produce to their customers. They work with farmers to ensure the practices they are using create the best seed and crop quality, soil use and other criteria. By working with farmers directly they are able to save customers money.

Encourage Diversity - It's important to the Walmart companies that they continue to nurture diversity across their entire company. This includes a 46 percent increase in women store managers over the last five years. The number of people of color in store manager positions has also increase by 52 percent. Women also represent a larger cross section at the corporate level.