Walmart’s suppliers reported that they avoided 136 million metric tons of emissions last year alone, according to the retailer’s 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report.
More than 2,300 suppliers have formally signed on to Project Gigaton, the company’s effort to avoid 1 billion metric tons of emissions globally by 2030. Since the program began in 2017, a cumulative 230 million metric tons of emissions have been avoided, Walmart said.
“We have designed Project Gigaton to accommodate a wide range of suppliers in terms of their readiness and capabilities to undertake intensive greenhouse gas reduction efforts,” the company noted in their ESG report. Walmart encourages suppliers to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited (SMART), and aligned with science-based targets.
In recognition that not all suppliers have the capacities to do that yet, Walmart said that the company makes resources available for any supplier to get started on avoiding or reducing emissions, democratizing climate action.
Of the suppliers that signed on to Project Gigaton, 428 of them were recognized last year as “Giga Gurus.” The retailer explained that this means “they have set SMART goals, agreed to share them publicly, and reported avoiding emissions in the most recent reporting year.” Walmart also recognized 424 suppliers as “Sparking Change,” either setting SMART goals and agreeing to share them publicly, or reporting avoiding emissions in the most recent reporting year.
Other Environmental Advancements
In addition to Project Gigaton progress, Walmart’s ESG report highlighted several other environmental advancements, including making CDP’s 2019 A List for climate action, and reducing emissions in their own operations in line with science-based targets.
The retailer used renewable energy sources for an estimated 29% of their energy needs globally, which put them on track toward reaching the goal of powering 50% of operations with renewable energy by 2025.
Walmart reported diverting an estimated 80% of their unsold products, packaging, and other operational materials from landfills and incineration globally in 2019, part of a broader goal to achieve zero waste in their own operations by 2025.
They also moved forward with natural capital initiatives. “We made progress on certifications of sensitive commodities,” Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief sustainability officer said in a company blog post. “For example, working with suppliers and based on their reported data, approximately 85% of our global private brand palm oil was sourced as RSPO segregated or equivalent, identity preserved or mass balance, and, as of September 2019, 100% of Walmart US private brand coffee was sourced certified sustainable.”