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Walmart looks to be “regenerative company”

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart plans to address the climate crisis by having zero emissions across its global operations by 2040, the company said Monday.

Doug McMillon

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are also committing to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030 to help combat the cascading loss of nature threatening the planet.

“We want to play an important role in transforming the world’s supply chains to be regenerative,” Walmart president and chief executive officer Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We face a growing crisis of climate change and nature loss and we all need to take action with urgency. For 15 years, we have been partnering to do the work and continually raising our sustainability ambitions across climate action, nature, waste and people. The commitments we’re making today not only aim to decarbonize Walmart’s global operations, they also put us on the path to becoming a regenerative company – one that works to restore, renew and replenish in addition to preserving our planet, and encourages others to do the same.”

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world must take immediate action to drastically reduce and remove greenhouse gas emissions, the company said. With that in mind, Walmart aims to operate with  zero emissions by 2040, without the use of carbon offsets, across its global operations by:

  • Harvesting enough wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to power its facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2035;
  • Electrifying and zeroing out emissions from all of its vehicles, including long-haul trucks, by 2040; and
  • Transitioning to low-impact refrigerants for cooling and electrified equipment for heating in its stores, clubs, and data and distribution centers by 2040.

Walmart also said that the world’s pursuit of natural resources has resulted in the degradation and loss of critical landscapes and the eradication of many species of plants and animals. The company cited studies showing that animal populations have declined by over 60% in just over 40 years and one-fifth of the Amazon’s rainforest has disappeared in just 50 years. Walmart said a regenerative approach to nature can help reverse these negative impacts and sustain critical resources for the future, while also representing a significant part of the solution to climate change.

“We must all take urgent, sustained action to reverse nature loss and emissions before we reach a tipping point from which we will not recover,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, who is executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation. “People have pushed past the earth’s natural limits. Healthy societies, resilient economies and thriving businesses rely on nature. Our vision at Walmart is to help transform food and product supply chains to be regenerative, working in harmony with nature – to protect, restore and sustainably use our natural resources.”

Recognizing the need to act now, along with the Walmart Foundation, Walmart aims to protect, manage or restore some of the world’s most critical landscapes by:

  • Continuing to support efforts to preserve at least one acre of natural habitat for every acre of land developed by the company in the U.S.;
  • Driving the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, sustainable fisheries management and forest protection and restoration – including an expansion of Walmart’s forests policy; and
  • Investing in and working with suppliers to source from placed-based efforts that help preserve natural ecosystems and improve livelihoods.

Walmart’s official announcement of its environmental initiatives came during the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC. The announcement also came one day before the retailer’s annual Sustainability Milestone Summit, to be held during Climate Week’s Hub Live, where the company will engage Walmart associates, suppliers, NGOs and other stakeholders to advance sustainability in the retail and consumer goods sector.


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