Walmart’s Project Gigaton Aims to Slash Emissions

At its annual Milestone Summit, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. introduced a sustainability platform inviting suppliers to join the mega-retailer in reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their operations and supply chains. The initiative, known as Project Gigaton, offers an emissions reduction toolkit to suppliers aiming to eliminate 1 gigaton of emissions – the equivalent to removing more than 211 million passenger vehicles from U.S. roads for a year – with a focus on such areas as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030. The introduction makes Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart the first retailer to offer a verified science-based target emissions-reduction plan.

The company’s goal is to lower its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18 percent by 2025. It will additionally work to reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from upstream and downstream Scope 3 sources by 1 billion tons (a gigaton) between 2015 and 2030. Walmart has decided to direct its Scope 3 climate efforts toward energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation, and product use and design, and is encouraging suppliers that take part to do likewise.

“We are proud of the improvements we’ve made in reducing our own emissions, but we aim to do more,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s SVP and chief sustainability officer. “That’s why we’re working with our suppliers and others on Project Gigaton.”

To help suppliers get involved in the initiative, Walmart collaborated with such NGOs as World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund on an emissions reduction toolkit. This resource outlines the business case for suppliers to take part in Project Gigaton.

“Through the years, we’ve seen that integrating sustainable practices into our operations improves business performance, spurs technological innovation, inspires brand loyalty and boosts employee engagement,” noted Laura Phillips, Walmart’s SVP, sustainability. “Our suppliers recognize the opportunity to realize those same benefits in their businesses. By working together on such an ambitious goal, we can accelerate progress within our respective companies and deep in our shared supply chains."

Project Gigaton is one of a number of Walmart sustainability initiatives, among them investing in solar energy, and doubling the efficiency of its U.S. fleet from 2005 to 2015.

According to the company, the following suppliers have already committed to Project Gigaton with new or existing emissions-reduction endeavors: Colgate-Palmolive Co., Unilever, Dairy Farmers of America, General Mills, Land O'Lakes Inc. and Kimberly-Clark.

Walmart operates 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries, and ecommerce websites in 11 countries.

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