Walmart's 20 Million MT GHG Reduction Goal
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by Heather Philipp on 02/26/2010
Read about and watch video on the Wal-Mart super-chain's plan to reduce 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution.
In collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and moderated by Treehugger.com, the maga-retailer Wal-Mart announced yesterday that it plans to reduce 150% of its estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years, the estimated equivalent of 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Meeting this 2015 goal would prevent enough emissions to have a similar environmental impact as taking more than 3.8 million average cars off of the road for a year or planting more than 181 million full grown trees. These emissions are also similar to what would be produced by burning fossil fuels to power nearly 2.6 million U.S. homes for a year or consuming nearly 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline. (All estimates based on EPA figures).
How do they plan on doing this? Walmart's goal can be met in part by making good on it's efforts to engage suppliers to track and reduce the environmental impact of their products as highlighted in last year's announcements of the launch of Walmart's Sustainability Index and Supplier Assessment. So, in addition to Walmart's corporate sustainability initiatives which include such things as using onsite renewable energy generation, reducing shipping and packaging waste, reducing truck fleet emissions and more; Wal-Mart leadership has taken a strong stance on how its supply chain should embrace sustainability and how the retailer's buyers should consider the merit of suppliers based in-part on their level of participation.
A step in the institution of a system to track and reduce supplier emissions to help meet the 20 million metric ton GHG emission reduction goal came with a 15-question survey of suppliers known as the Supplier Sustainability Assessment. What was and continues to be at the top of the list of those 15 questions is whether or not a supplier has undergone a greenhouse gas inventory, and if so, whether or not they have reported it publicly, and lastly if they have made goals to reduce it. The first round is simply gleaning whether or not a supplier has taken steps to understand its impact on the environment.
In yesterday's press release, Walmart president and CEO, Mike Duke, was quoted as saying, "Like everything we do at Walmart, this commitment ends up coming down to our customers. Reducing carbon in the life cycle of our products will often mean reducing energy use. That will mean greater efficiency and, with the rising cost of energy, lower costs, making our business stronger and more competitive. And, as we help our suppliers reduce their energy use, costs and carbon footprint, we’ll be helping our customers do the same thing.”
Watch as Duke talks with stakeholders about the Walmart greenhouse gas reduction goals:
View this and other sustainability-related videos at the Walmart video center. Read more about why Walmart's goals and initiatives make a difference in Elizabeth Sturcken's Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) blog post Why Walmart's Carbon Commitment Can Make Such a Difference.
Learn more about Mosaic, a simple, scalable and cost effective solution to completing a GHG inventory – watch this video.
This public announcement by Walmart not only further positions them as a leader in the corporate sustainability movement which naturally gains them valuable media attention, but of course also puts pressure on other retails to follow suite. In fact, Walmart's initiation of the Sustainability Consortium has the potential to offer sustainability standards to all retail organizations and suppliers. Even if you don't love everything Walmart does or stands for, I think it's clear that they are taking a bold, positive step for themselves, for the greater sustainability of their industry, and for the planet. ~ Heather
Heather Philipp is Director of Media & Communications for Renewable Choice Energy