Wal-Mart’s latest environmental push calls for the reduction of 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the end of 2015 with help from its suppliers. This translates into 150 percent of the giant retailer’s estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years.
Wal-Mart estimates that more than 90 percent of its emissions comes from the supply chain, and the remainder from its stores and logistics operations, reports Financial Times.
The retailer will help its suppliers reduce their energy use, costs and emissions through a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), PricewaterhouseCoopers, ClearCarbon, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Applied Sustainability Center (ASC) at the University of Arkansas. Working with suppliers, this group will identify projects to help them cut their energy use and carbon footprint as well as qualify their reductions.
The retailer in 2009 introduced its sustainability index to grade suppliers and products on a range of environmental and sustainable factors. In 2008, the retailer’s Sustainable Packaging Scorecard aimed at getting suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging in their products, and eliminating any negative environmental impact of their packaging.
The retailer says it won’t force suppliers to make changes, reports USA Today.
Wal-Mart wants suppliers to first focus on products with the highest carbon footprint. This means reducing emissions at any stage in the product’s life cycle, which includes the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, end use or end-of-life disposal.
Wal-Mart’s Supplier Energy Efficiency Project (SEEP) is also aimed at eliminating emissions from the company’s supply chain, where the retailer oversees energy audits and retrofits at its suppliers’ factories. Under the program, suppliers have reduced GHG emissions by 3,300 metric tons and saved $200,000 in energy costs.
Also recently, Wal-Mart Canada said it would be building its first sustainable refrigerated distribution center, which will open in Balzac, Alberta, later this year.
The $115-million distribution center is expected to be the most energy-efficient distribution facility of its kind in North America, and will be about 60 percent more energy-efficient than Wal-Mart’s traditional refrigerated distribution centers.
The facility will feature a fuel-cell pilot.
Wal-Mart also recently revealed its involvement, as part of a big announcement in recent days, in a pilot of Bloom Energy’s fuel cell generators for two Southern California retail locations.