Walmart is making a bold bid to reshape the future.
President and chief executive Doug McMillon outlined the retailer’s new sustainability roadmap at the Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia Friday, announcing its intent to expand and enhance sustainable sourcing, as well as a plan to achieve science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We want to make sure Walmart is a company that our associates and customers are proud of—and that we are always doing right by them and by the communities they live in,” McMillon said. “That’s really what these commitments are about. And that’s why we’re so passionate about them.”
Walmart wants to source half of its energy needs from renewable sources, including solar and wind power, as part of a plan approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce its emissions by 18 percent by 2025. In addition, the company will work with suppliers to cut emissions by 1 gigaton by 2030.
The new roadmap also builds on progress made to date on its zero-waste goal. In 2015, 75 percent of Walmart’s global waste was diverted from landfills; now the company wants to send zero waste to landfill from its own operations in key markets by 2025, including the U.S., U.K., Japan and Canada. This target is designed to meet or surpass guidelines sets by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Other goals for 2025 include a bid for Walmart’s private brand packaging to be 100 percent recyclable, to double the sales of locally grown produce and to expand its sourcing of sustainable products as well as commodities produced with zero net deforestation.
McMillon also discussed Walmart’s $2.7 billion investment over the past two years in education, wages and training for associates in the U.S. and called for a similar push by the industry at large.
“Today we are asking other retailers to join us in helping people live better,” he said. “Let’s use our collective power to create good jobs with good training that become good careers for all our associates.”
In addition to Walmart’s work currently underway in areas that present risk to the dignity and safety of workers, including apparel, the company is joining the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment to ensure ethical employment and treatment of workers around the world.
Walmart also wants to become the go-to for first jobs. The retailer pledged to provide focused training programs and career growth opportunities to its employees in the U.S., from entry level positions to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay, as well as offer more predictable scheduling and fair compensation.
Lastly, Walmart wants to source more goods locally around the world, including $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023 and $20 billion in products from women-owned businesses in the U.S. by the end of this year.