Retail giant touts plan to become 'regenerative company' as it unveils carbon and nature commitments on the opening day of NYC Climate Week
The world's largest retailer has today committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions across its operations by 2040, without relying on carbon offsets.
Walmart, the only company in the world that surpasses Amazon in retail revenue, said that vehicle and heat electrification, renewable energy, and low-impact refrigerants would allow it to reach its new goal as it worked to become a "regenerative company".
Alongside decarbonising its operations, the firm said it would work with its charitable arm to protect, manage, and restore "at least" 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.
Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart, emphasised that urgent action was needed to address a "growing crisis of climate change and nature loss".
"For 15 years, we have been partnering to do the work and continually raising our sustainability ambitions across climate action, nature, waste and people," he added. "The commitments we're making today not only aim to decarbonize Walmart's global operations, they also put us on the path to becoming a regenerative company - one that works to restore, renew and replenish in addition to preserving our planet, and encourages others to do the same."
The firm is aiming to fully transition it facilities to run on 100 per cent renewable power by 2035 - up from a 29 per cent share today - and electrify all its vehicles, including long-haul trucks, five years later. At the same time, it plans to transition its cooling systems to low-impact refrigerants and heating systems to electrified equipment across all its stores, clubs, and data and distribution centres by 2040.
McMillon is set to discuss the new commitment later today at the opening of New York Climate Week.
Helen Clarkson, chief executive of the Climate Group, the non-profit that organises the week-long climate summit, touted Walmart's pledge as a "momentous" step that represented a "big, global contribution to the transition to clean energy and transport".
"This is exactly the level of ambition we need to see across the board," Clarkson said. "It shows that in spite of the pandemic, business commitment to tackling climate change can and will remain on the agenda - and it has to if we're to be in with a fighting chance of securing a healthy, fair and sustainable future."
Walmart's carbon reduction programme will be complemented by a new string of goals geared at boosting its stewardship of nature. It has pledged preserve at least one acre of natural habitat for every acre of land it has developed, while supporting the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, including sustainable fisheries management and forest protection and restoration.
"Healthy societies, resilient economies and thriving businesses rely on nature," Kathleen McLaughlin, president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart said. "Our vision at Walmart is to help transform food and product supply chains to be regenerative, working in harmony with nature - to protect, restore and sustainably use our natural resources."
Walmart also confirmed it would work with its suppliers to identify and support 'place-based' nature conservation and protection efforts.
The firm said it is already working with more than 2,300 of its suppliers to improve their environmental performance through its Project Gigaton initiative, which is focused on helping partners slash their greenhouse gas emissions. Launched in 2017, the initiative has so far helped prevent 230 metric tonnes of emissions, according to the firm.
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