As Walmart’s sustainability product expo 2014 is just around the corner, it is a good time to look at the various sustainability efforts the company has undertaken globally and in Canada.
Walmart has achieved many sustainability milestones worldwide. In its last sustainability report it revealed that it surpassed $1 billion in giving and it is the first partner of Feeding America to donate 1 billion meals. It directly measures the sustainability of products through the sustainability index and helped launch the Sustainability Consortium (TSC) in China.
Empowering women is important as the company has been increasing training and opportunities for nearly 1 million women worldwide. US manufacturing is supported and the company recently sourced an additional $50 billion in products in the U.S. It has received awards for its efforts towards solar energy such as rooftop solar systems at select stores and distribution centres.
The company has a strong history of promoting from within and it focuses on hiring veterans. Diversity is encouraged and nearly 28% of corporate officers are women, which is nearly double the Fortune 500 average.
Walmart Canada has been busy increasing sustainability efforts and the results of these efforts to date are summarized below.
Climate and Energy
Walmart Canada’s goal is to one-day operate with 100% renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
The company converted its first store, in Brampton, Ontario, from traditional fluorescent lights to high-efficiency LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.
Management has been building new store prototypes that are 30% more energy-efficient than regular stores. There is an environmental demonstration store in Burlington, Ontario that uses geothermal technology to heat and cool the building and is an estimated 60% more energy-efficient than the typical store. The facility has been recognized by The Retail Council of Canada with an excellence in retailing award.
The fresh food distribution centre in Balzac, Alberta is the company’s first sustainable distribution centre. It uses solar and wind power and is approximately 60% more efficient than the typical distribution centre.
Stock approximately 1,200 environmentally-friendly SKUs across all categories and are actively seeking new products.
Walmart is seeking to become a zero-waste business by recycling plastic and cardboard and providing reusable shopping bags. There are now two zero-waste stores in Waterdown, ON. and Bridgewater, NS.
My Sustainability Plan
This plan asks Walmart Canada’s approximately 85,000 associates to identify a key area of sustainability they are passionate about. They are called upon to develop a plan to contribute towards efforts in their chosen area and share their story with fellow store associates.
This is a challenge to encourage students to design their best, most innovative green business solutions to Canada’s top CEOs. These bright leaders share $100,000 in prize money.
Sustainable Seafood Sourcing
The company has been focusing on increased transparency with regards to sourcing its seafood. For example, it’s Great Value canned tuna is sourced from members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and customers are able to identify where their seafood came from.
This unique aspect of Walmart Canada’s sustainability efforts calls upon individuals or groups to show how certain green efforts actually translate to the company’s bottom line results. People are called upon to measure return on investments (ROI) for their green efforts. Case studies can be reviewed through www.Sharegreen.ca.
Walmart Canada recognizes that every individual can contribute towards sustainability efforts and it has tailored its sustainability program to support these efforts with the My Sustainability Plan, Student Challenge and Sharegreen program. The company utilizes a truly collaborative approach to its sustainability efforts, recognizing that it provides the leadership necessary to promote different initiatives and bring out the best in others.
Walmart is one of the biggest companies worldwide, so its sustainability efforts serve as a leadership model for various companies and individuals to follow. The companies current efforts and achievements in sustainability have been producing measurable effects and it is nice to see the company trying to measure these results in terms of return on investment (ROI) since this helps to prove to the world community that sustainability efforts are always important and beneficial.