Walmart Embarks on Race to Zero

Company is one of 4 leading retailers involved in effort addressing climate change
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Walmart Embarks on Race to Zero
Walmart is one of the retailers committed to spur climate action and urge other retailers to release plans to achieve 1.5-degree aligned carbon reduction targets.

Top retailers H&M Group, Ingka Group (IKEA), Kingfisher plc and Walmart have introduced a new initiative to address climate change, the Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign, in collaboration with the COP26 High Level Climate Action Champions and backed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The companies have committed to ramp up a retail industry movement to spur climate action and urge other retailers to release plans to achieve 1.5-degree aligned carbon reduction targets.

Despite significant action by some major retail brands, only 5% of retail businesses have committed to taking action to limit global warming in accordance with the Paris Agreement goals.

“This campaign is a call to retailers everywhere to take ambitious climate action as they increasingly recognize the risks posed by climate change across their supply chains and operations,” said  Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the WBCSD, the Geneva-based organization of more than 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. “We need more retailers to join the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero and showcase leadership and commitment, like H&M Group, IKEA, Kingfisher and Walmart.”

Added Bakker: “The climate emergency, together with the loss of nature and rising inequalities, are the greatest and most complex challenges of our time. Only by joining forces and collectively rethinking the industries, like retail, will it be possible to tackle them. Governments, investors and businesses are uniting to support a pathway to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement – the only viable way for people and [the] planet.”

Retailers can join the Race to Zero initiative by implementing science-based targets, working to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and pledging to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. The Breakthroughs campaign aims to help retailers achieve these goals by providing sector-specific guidance and access to networks and best practices. The campaign will also partner with trade associations to increase awareness about the Race to Zero, share tools and resources and accelerate the adoption of net-zero roadmaps.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list.

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