Source: Progressive Grocer
Walmart Inc. has released its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, which details the mega-retailer’s goals, progress and achievements for fiscal 2019 toward its commitment to boost economic opportunity for associates and local communities, create sustainability in its supply chains, and introduce climate change initiatives.
“Through ESG initiatives, our goal is not only minimizing our own footprint or mitigating risk, but to inspire collective action to help transform the sector for long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability,” said Walmart Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin. “We’re engaged in efforts to source responsibly, create economic opportunity for retail associates and people working in supply chains, take action on climate change, and help improve sustainability of the products we sell. We believe business exists to serve society, and that when business engages to be part of the solution not only can we help accelerate progress in the world, we make our business better, too.”
So far, Walmart's progress in the following areas includes:
ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE
Walmart worked with an independent third-party consultant on a Climate Change Impact Scenario Analysis to better understand the nature of climate change and potential implications for the retail sector; reported a 6.1 percent reduction in annual greenhouse-gas emissions in 2017 compared with 2015; made advancements on its Project Gigaton goals, with suppliers reporting the avoidance of more than 93 million metric tons of emissions over the past two years; revealed that, as part of its goal of being supplied by 50 percent renewable energy by 2025, 28 percent of its electricity needs are now supplied by renewable sources; and, in the U.S., diverted 81 percent of unsold products, packaging and other waste materials from landfills last year, as well as recycling more than 430 million pounds of plastic film and rigid plastics globally.
ENHANCING SUSTAINABILITY IN SUPPLY CHAINS
As of the end of fiscal 2019, Walmart achieved a supplier Sustainability Index participation rate that covers 80 percent of the goods its sells in U.S. stores and Sam’s Club locations for categories where the Sustainability Index is available.
INCREASING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ASSOCIATES
Walmart promoted more than 215,000 people to jobs of greater responsibility and higher pay in Walmart U.S. stores in fiscal 2019; revealed that 31 percent of its corporate officers are women, 44 percent of associates with revenue responsibility are women and 57 percent of hourly promotions were of women; noted that of the 800,000 Walmart U.S. store associates that have attended the Walmart Academy, 60 percent of those trained were women; pointed out that 34 percent of associates with revenue responsibility are people of color; and shared that the average total compensation and benefits for a full-time hourly field associate in Walmart U.S. stores was $19.31 as of March 2019.
"It’s not enough to just serve one stakeholder group – the opportunity for business and their leadership is to add value for all stakeholders,” noted Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. “Throughout Walmart’s history, we have understood that for a business to last, it must have a fundamental reason for being, which is found in the value it creates for all – customers, associates, communities, shareholders, suppliers, future generations, and the planet.”
The ESG report is a newly focused, streamlined accounting of how Walmart tackles key issues facing society and initiatives across its business segments. In addition to the report, the company issued its annual update on ethics and compliance, and introduced Walmart.org, a website showcasing the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, as well as ecommerce websites, employing more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. The company is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.