Walmart Unpacks Reusable Bag Campaign
At its April 10 2019 sustainability milestone summit, Walmart Inc. revealed that for the first time, checkout carousels at its U.S. stores will feature reusable bags available for purchase. The new campaign aims to help reduce plastic waste and increase customer convenience by placing reusable bags in easy-to-find and highly frequented areas of its stores. As part of the initiative, the Bentonville, Ark.-based is introducing a new assortment of reusable bags made with post-consumer recycled content.
The reusable-bag campaign will start rolling out to stores next month, following Walmart’s commitment to plastic waste reduction goals to make its private-brand packaging 100 percent recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025.
The milestone summit also included information and updates on several other sustainability initiatives, among them Project Gigaton, which is marking its second anniversary. Under the program, Walmart is working with suppliers to avoid 1 billion metric tons – a gigaton – of emissions from global value chains by 2030. During the summit, Walmart Canada revealed that it’s joining the project, making it Walmart Inc.’s third international market to work with suppliers towards emissions reductions.
In the first two years of Project Gigaton, many suppliers report avoiding more than 93 million metric tons of emissions toward the initiative’s goal.
“We are encouraged by the engagement of our suppliers in Project Gigaton,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, SVP and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “To achieve our ambitious climate goals, we aim to expand and deepen that engagement. The progress to date shows how companies can contribute to climate action through practical actions all along the product supply chain. Ultimately, building sustainable supply chains requires collective action from everyone – not only our associates and suppliers, but customers, business in general, and civil society. We are excited to be part of the solution.”
The company also reported progress in its efforts to increase the availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its stores and clubs across the U.S, with EV chargers available at retail locations across 29 states as of 2018, and discussed its aspirational goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy, as well as its mission to power 50 percent of its operations with renewable energy by the end of 2025. Over the past year, Walmart completed contracts for 136 new solar and wind projects, which will supply the company with an additional estimated 2.14 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually, the equivalent electricity usage of more than 260,000 homes in a year.
Additionally, Walmart provided an update on its responsible sourcing work in collaboration with NGOs, industry groups, governments and suppliers, with the aim of bettering the lives of workers in the global apparel supply chain, with a particular focus on women, and revealed new sustainability goals for apparel and soft-home textiles within Walmart U.S. stores.
Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites. The company is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.