Walmart achieves supply chain emissions target ahead of planned timeline

Walmart achieves supply chain emissions target ahead of planned timeline

Doug McMillion, Walmart’s Chief Executive and President, has announced that the firm has achieved its ‘Project Gigaton’ target ahead of schedule. The brand has significantly reduced emissions from its substantial supply chains four years ahead of schedule.

About Project Gigaton and its impact

Project Gigaton was announced in 2017 and saw Walmart pledge to deliver the avoidance or reduction of a billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions across its value chains by 2030. This consisted mainly of emissions within its upstream supply chain. 

The firm later added carbon sequestration to its calculation for the Project. It sought to achieve this through improving soil quality on farms. In April 2022, Walmart had achieved half of the progress needed to achieve the goal. Over 5,900 suppliers are actively participating in Project Gigaton.

In other words, suppliers representing 75 percent of the retailer’s net sales are now disclosing their emissions. The brand hopes that these suppliers can not only improve their emissions disclosures and implement more projects to avoid, reduce, or sequester carbon but also share knowledge with peers. 

Walmart envisions that through engaging and supporting thousands of suppliers spanning product categories and regions across the globe, they can spark innovation in infrastructure and practices that can expand and drive emissions reduction and avoidance across the industry. 

How did Walmart achieve its goal 4 years early?

Walmart believes a more sustainable supply chain is a more robust and resilient one. The firm achieved the milestone by implementing immediate and sustained actions. In 2017, they asked their largest suppliers to set time-bound, numerical objectives to curb their emissions and to improve their emissions disclosure. 

Additionally, Walmart started providing suppliers with guidance on integrating the most practical and science-based projects to tackle their emissions hotspots. This guidance has been provided in the form of summits, online and in-person, in addition to digital resources and tools. 

Businesses are encouraged to improve each year with the potential to meet Giga Guru status, an accolade bestowed by Walmart based on excellence in target setting, activities, and results. Resources from the CDP, WWF, and the Environmental Defence Fund have enabled Walmart to establish what ‘excellence’ looks like. 

Walmart has also assisted with practical and financial barriers by running a ‘Gigaton PPA’ programme. This programme enables suppliers to collectively purchase renewable energy from wind farms through joint Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). 

Project Gigaton is set to continue with the goal of driving more climate action within and beyond Walmart’s supply chains. In the future, the firm plans to focus on innovative materials, low-carbon infrastructure, and zero-emissions transport. They will also be working to enhance estimates of its Scope 3 emissions footprint in tandem. 

The firm is also striving for certification under the Net-Zero Standard from the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which will require the company to commit to a 90 percent reduction in emissions across Scopes 1, 2, and 3 by 2050. In line with this, Walmart has already set a 2040 target for its Scope 1 and 2 emissions and had its 2030 climate objectives verified by the SBTi. 

Conclusion – Walmart as a Pivotal Business Case Study

It is remarkable to witness the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart not only taking its sustainability commitments so seriously but achieving its target four years ahead of schedule. The achievement is a sign that change is possible even in an industry where decarbonisation is the greatest challenge. Moreover, Walmart’s efforts not only emphasise the importance of achieving climate objectives, but also striving for further environmental impact.

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