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Walmart Details ESG Progress in Latest Report

Retailer is maintaining its focus on opportunity, community, sustainability and ethics and integrity
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Walmart vaccination
Walmart reported that as of January 2022, 80% of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in medically underserved communities.

Walmart is pulling back the curtain on its current aspirations, strategies, progress and challenges related to environmental, social and governance issues. The company’s recently released "FY2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Summary Report" takes a deep dive into these issues, focusing on four main themes, including opportunity, community, sustainability and ethics and integrity. 

“Today, as we launch our 'FY2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Summary Report,' the world continues to face uncertainty and challenges,” wrote Kathleen McLaughlin, EVP and chief sustainability officer at Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation, in a company blog post. “They're diverse, ranging from COVID-19 to inflation and social unrest to climate change.”

“Yet despite such challenges — or as much spurred on by them — we are more committed than ever to our efforts to become a regenerative company, one that puts humanity and nature at the center of our business practices,” McLaughlin continued. “We believe that we maximize the value of our company for our customers and other stakeholders by tackling relevant, pressing societal issues through business.”

When it comes to opportunity throughout its supply chain and stores, Walmart shared that more than 72,000 of its associates have been enrolled in its Live Better U program since 2018, and 100% of those students’ college tuition and books were paid for by Walmart as of August 2021. Diversity was also a major focus this year, with 45% of management promotions going to women and 40% going to people of color. Additionally, more than $13.3 billion worth of goods and services were sourced from diverse suppliers in the U.S.

Walmart’s commitment to sustainability was also front and center. The retailer reiterated its commitment to help protect, restore or more sustainably manage 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030. Walmart has also achieved a 17.5% reduction in scopes 1 and 2 emission, and 58% of its global private brand packaging is recyclable, usable or industrially compostable.

According to nonprofit research organization Toxic-Free Future, Walmart is the first major U.S. retailer to have announced a broad time-bound chemical footprint reduction goal, and has reduced its footprint of priority chemicals by 17%. This equates to the removal of 36.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals from private-label and brand-name cosmetics, personal care, household cleaners, and formulated baby care products in the U.S. 

The retailer’s commitment to community is evident through its $1.5 billion in cash and in-kind donations globally through Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, as well as its $132 million in donations since 2016 for disaster relief and community preparedness. The retailer was a critical access point for COVID-19 vaccinations, with 5,100 COVID-19 vaccination sites across all U.S. Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies, and 80% of vaccines administered in medically underserved communities as of January 2022.

Additionally, more than 2 million Walmart associates have been trained in ethics and nearly 78,000 have received anti-corruption training. The company received a 100% score on the 2021 Disability Equality Index and holds the No. 26 spot in DiversityInc.’s 2022 Top Companies for Diversity.

“When it comes to complex societal issues, stakeholders don’t always agree on the way forward and there can be many obstacles to progress,” McLaughlin wrote. “Through our ESG reporting, we aim to provide insight into Walmart’s theories of change, systemic challenges and the efforts of Walmart teams and our partners to overcome them.”

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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