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Walmart Marks Progress Toward Economic, Environmental and Social Sustainability

In releasing its 11th Annual Global Responsibility Report, Walmart highlighted progress and achievements in its 2018 fiscal year to increase economic opportunity, enhance sustainability of supply chains and strengthen local communities.

Walmart noted many initiatives in the area of corporate social responsibility, including significant investments in higher wages, training and increased parental leave for eligible associates, and collaborations with suppliers and nonprofit organizations to help combat forced labor in the global supply chain. The retailer also noted its collaborative initiative with suppliers across the value chain to reduce one billion metric tons, or one gigaton, of emissions by 2030 known as Project Gigaton, which it reported last week in a separate sustainability report.

“At Walmart, we believe strengthening societal systems is not only the responsible thing to do, it also maximizes business value,” Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart, said. “Through our initiatives, we hope to accelerate progress and spark collective action on the issues that matter most to our customers, business and communities–helping to transform retail and retail supply chains for economic, environmental and social sustainability.”

Walmart said it has made significant progress toward ambitious goals set more than a decade ago, including 100 percent use of renewable energy and creating zero waste throughout its operations, and selling products that sustain people and the environment.

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Among the key milestones and progress outlined in the report are policies that increase economic opportunity in retail and retail supply chains. The company noted that it promoted more than 230,000 people to jobs of greater responsibility and higher pay in fiscal year 2018, with bonuses for hourly U.S. associates totaling more than $625 million.

Walmart noted that women make up more than 30 percent of its company officers and 55 percent of its U.S. workforce, as of Jan, 31, and that people of color make up 37 percent of U.S. management promotions and 44 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce.

Since its inception, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have invested more than $80 million of their $100 million set aside for its Retail Opportunity Initiative designed to make it easier for frontline workers gain promotions and acquire transferable skills. On the supply chain side, they funded training for more than 1 million small-and-medium-scale farmers, more than half of whom are women.

As noted in its sustainability update and as part of the overall Global Responsibility Report, Walmart is about 28 percent of the way toward being powered by renewable resources, putting it on track to meet its goal of 50 percent by 2025.

Along that same path, 78 percent of Walmart’s global waste was diverted from landfills in the year.

In other corporate responsibility areas, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have provided more than $44 million in funding to support disaster response and preparedness around the world since fiscal 2017, including funding for the hurricanes that hit the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Since fiscal 2015, Walmart has donated over 2.5 billion pounds of food from Walmart Stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers in the U.S., including more than 675 million pounds of food last year. Also in the last year, Walmart associates volunteered more than 850,000 hours in the U.S., and the company’s U.S. stores and clubs provided more than $42 million in local grants.

In addition, Walmart noted that since Memorial Day 2013, the company has hired more than 194,000 U.S. veterans and promoted more than 28,000 veterans to roles of greater responsibility.