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Wal-Mart Releases Greenhouse Gas Protocol Guidance

In February, Wal-Mart committed to reduce the carbon footprint from its supply chain by 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2015. The project team that has been working to implement that goal is releasing a guidance document that details how these emissions reductions will be counted, reports the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Wal-Mart has said that addressing operational and supply chain opportunities can be good for both business and the environment, and is moving ahead with its supply chain strategy by prioritizing the biggest pollution reduction opportunities that can achieve reductions now, says EDF.

The need to qualify, quantify and assess the reductions is what led the project team to create a guidance document that establishes “rules” for counting carbon reductions towards Wal-Mart’s 20 million metric tons goal, says EDF.

The team was led by ClearCarbon Consulting, along with EDF, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart will calculate carbon reductions for each project by using this framework, which outlines the qualification criteria for the project, as well as rules for accounting for emissions reductions and ensuring that they are real.

Although the document was designed as an internal tool for the project team, EDF is releasing the document to provide transparency into Wal-Mart’s carbon reductions. Transparency is a big part of the retailer’s sustainability strategy.

EDF is collaborating with Wal-Mart buyers, merchandise managers and company leaders within the retailer’s business units to identify projects that could achieve a significant carbon reduction. EDF says the team is prioritizing products by those with the most significant GHG emissions in their lifecycle as well as top-selling items.

The project team also is engaging suppliers to implement reductions, and then working to quantify those reductions and assess any claims of reductions. It is looking at potentially big carbon wins for products such as bread, clothing, pork.

The project team also may expand Wal-mart’s CFL campaign to markets outside the United States.

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