Last week, during Walmart’s Sustainability Milestone Summit, the company launched a sustainability platform inviting suppliers to join Walmart in committing to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their operations and supply chains. The initiative, called Project Gigaton, will provide an emissions reduction toolkit for a broad network of suppliers striving to eliminate one gigaton of emissions, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030. That’s the equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off U.S. roads and highways for a year, according to a Walmart spokesperson.
“We’re proud of the improvements we’ve made in reducing our own emissions, but we aim to do more,” says Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “That’s why we’re working with our suppliers and others on Project Gigaton.”
Walmart’s plan calls for first reducing its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18 percent by 2025, defined as:
Scope 1: These are emissions that arise directly from sources that are owned or controlled by the supplier.
Scope 2: These are the emissions generated by purchased electricity consumed by the supplier.
Second, Walmart will work to reduce CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions from upstream and downstream Scope 3 sources by one billion tons (a gigaton) between 2015 and 2030. These are emissions created by the activities of a supplier, but are generated by sources not owned or controlled by the organization. Walmart has identified energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation, and product use and design as the goal areas in which to focus its Scope 3 climate efforts. Participating suppliers have been encouraged to focus their commitment in one or more of these goal areas.
To help suppliers make commitments to emission reduction, or to establish emission reduction projects, Walmart collaborated with NGOs, like World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund, and additional like-minded organizations to create an emissions reduction toolkit. In this toolkit, Walmart highlights the business case for why suppliers should consider joining Project Gigaton.
Supply chains are the “new frontier of sustainability,” says Carter Roberts, president and CEO, World Wildlife Fund. The journey products take from “source to shelf will collectively shape our planet’s future,” he says.
“Project Gigaton is a testament to the transformative impact that leaders of industry can have on our greatest common challenges,” Roberts continues. “As more companies follow in the footsteps of Walmart and their suppliers, we can achieve the critical mass needed to address climate change. Today’s commitment represents an important step toward a safer and more prosperous future.”
Through the years, Walmart leadership has seen that integrating sustainable practices into the company’s operations improves business performance, drives technological innovation, inspires brand loyalty and boosts employee engagement, says Laura Phillips, senior vice president, sustainability, at Walmart.
“Our suppliers recognize the opportunity to realize those same benefits in their businesses,” Phillips says. “By working together on such an ambitious goal, we can accelerate progress within our respective companies and deep in our shared supply chains.”
What are your thoughts on sustainability? Do your company and its suppliers have plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?