Walmart is doubling down on addressing the growing climate crisis with an announcement to target zero emissions across its global operations by 2040. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer and the Walmart Foundation are also committing to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030.
"We want to play an important role in transforming the world's supply chains to be regenerative. We face a growing crisis of climate change and nature loss, and we all need to take action with urgency," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart. "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."
McMillon announced the news during the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC and one day before Walmart’s annual Sustainability Milestone Summit, to be held during Climate Week's Hub Live, where the company will engage Walmart associates, suppliers, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders to advance sustainability in the retail and consumer goods sector.
To achieve zero emissions by 2040, without the use of carbon offsets, Walmart said it will:
- Harvest enough wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to power its facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2035.
- Electrify and zero out emissions from all of its vehicles, including long-haul trucks, by 2040.
- Transition to low-impact refrigerants for cooling and electrified equipment for heating in its stores, clubs and data and distribution centers by 2040.
To help protect, manage or restore that world’s lands and oceans, Walmart said it will:
- Continue to support efforts to preserve at least 1 acre of natural habitat for every acre of land developed by the company in the U.S.
- Drive the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, sustainable fisheries management and forest protection and restoration, including an expansion of Walmart's deforestation goals.
- Invest in and work with suppliers to source from placed-based efforts that help preserve natural ecosystems and improve livelihoods.
"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, EVP 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."
For more than 15 years, Walmart has been collaborating with others to drive positive change across global supply chains. To date, Walmart powers about 29% of its operations with renewable energy and diverts about 80% of its waste from landfills and incineration globally. Because most of the company's environmental impact comes from its supply chain, Walmart is also working with suppliers through its Project Gigaton initiative to avoid a gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. More than 2,300 suppliers have signed on, and since the effort launched in 2017, suppliers report a total of 230 million metric tons of avoided emissions.