Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, made headlines recently as it launched its Project Gigaton, an effort to help its supply chain go green and cut by a billion metric tons its carbon footprint.
This is a first both in the approach and the magnitude of this initiative. We have seen for the past few years large American companies push hard towards more energy efficiency and renewables to reduce their own costs and environmental footprints. But Walmart is willing to cut its many suppliers greenhouse gases emissions. This is a novel approach that some tout at “corporate America’s ‘moonshot’ “
Greenbiz explains why this is even more significant than it looks like at first:
(A)ccording to the Sustainability Consortium, the modern supply chain is responsible for 60 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, 80 percent of all water use and 66 percent of all tropical deforestation.
And with the global population projected to swell to 9.5 billion consumers by 2050, it is clear there is not just a crucial opportunity for businesses to meet growing global demand, there is also a real need to protect the planet. Embracing sustainable practices is no longer an option for business. It is an imperative. The planet needs fast action on a massive scale.
The article goes further, as this is concerns much more than just Walmart, but the entire global economy:
So do forward-looking CEOs. Shareholders are rewarding resiliency when companies climate-proof their global operations. And customers, especially millennials, expect sustainability to be baked into the things they buy. In short, business is looking to drive bottom-line value, including growth, with sustainability.
Which explains the significant Project Gigaton commitments being made by companies like Unilever (20 million metric tons of GHG reduction) and Land O’ Lakes (20 million acres sustainably farmed) and commitments made in the past six months by Apple, Amazon, Google, PepsiCo, Smithfield Foods and others.
Please refer to Greenbiz full article to learn out more on this.
Greening the supply chain will eventually cut waste, and thus, costs. And Walmart have been hell-bent at pushing down prices, to the detriment sometimes of its suppliers as I have learned during my Operations class at Presidio Graduate School. But no-one, and no company, is perfect.
As I reported previously, Walmart may have dubious social practices and a negative impacts on some of its suppliers, but it also has a massive solar capacity on its stores’ roofs and signed power purchasing agreements (PPAs) for wind farms as well. It has also started to buy energy storage solutions for its stores.
Overall these are good news as the world needs to cut down emissions fast and seeing large companies committed to cut emissions by such a vast amount is not to be frowned at. Now, I will keep an eye on this and how this is done. I believe there are exciting times aheadfor sustainability specialists.
Image credits: Flickr, Walmart