Walmart Canada is helping reduce food waste while cutting emissions from delivery services by working with a sustainable delivery platform that uses shared warehousing and consolidation of orders to reduce truck trips. Walmart signed the agreement with a food delivery program from Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD) in February; the Food-X service launched in September.
The service is an important step in helping Walmart reach its sustainability goals because consumer demand for online grocery shopping is growing, which means more trucks on the road. Food-X operates out of SPUD’s new 74,000 square-foot warehouse which uses proprietary technology that keeps food fresh for longer periods. The real-time produce inventory management system provides visibility into all produce sales, which cuts produce waste to .5% of sales — a significant reduction from the produce waste from traditional grocery stores of between 5% and 6%. The facility also has bio-digesters used to compost meat, produce and compostable packaging.
Delivery orders are consolidated, increasing delivery density of its trucks in order to reduce truck trips, the company says.
Walmart shoppers in Vancouver order groceries online — including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy products — and choose a time window for delivery. Orders are delivered by Food-X in reusable totes. Walmart is the first national customer for Food-X, according to Supermarket News.
Moving Toward Zero Waste
In Walmart’s 2018 sustainability report, the company reiterated its goal of achieving zero waste – that is, meeting or exceeding Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) business recognition program requirements – in its Canada, Japan, UK, and US operations by 2025. The retailer said that by the end of 2017, it had diverted 81% of its US waste from landfills, and 78% globally.
Walmart began its march to zero waste in 2005, when the company began to look at the interplay of waste and usable materials and to examine its own operations looking for ways to reduce waste of all kinds. Since then, the company has been engaging suppliers and customers in pursuit of the “circular economy.” Their overall waste reduction strategy involves measuring waste, reducing waste from non-food items and packaging, and reducing food waste in their operations.
More Environmental Responsibility from Walmart
Another sustainability initiative from Walmart is its Project Gigaton, which asks suppliers to collectively eliminate 1 gigaton of emissions by 2030. In an effort to help Walmart’s mission, GE’s commercial LEDs from Current, powered by GE, also being used across Walmart stores and facilities, from refrigerated display cases to parking lot and interior lighting. This LED initiative supports Walmart’s science-based target to reduce emissions in its own operations by 18% by 2025. As part of an ongoing commitment to energy efficiency, the retailer has installed more than 1.5 million LED fixtures across more than 6,000 stores, parking lots, distribution centers and corporate offices in 10 countries, the company says.
With energy costs traditionally representing one of the company’s largest operating expenses, the energy initiative over the past decade has reduced lighting energy consumption and reduced costs by more than $100 million, according to the retail giant.