This year marks 25 years since then-President George H. W. Bush awarded our founder, Sam Walton, the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Bush came to Bentonville, Arkansas that March day to present the award. And while he spoke about Sam’s business success, he focused most of his remarks on the personal qualities that set Sam apart from his peers: his determination, his decency and the good Walmart does in communities. As he accepted the award, Sam said that if we work together we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.
That purpose still motivates us. We love making our customers’ lives easier—saving them money and making shopping simple and convenient. Helping people live better also means supporting our associates and serving our communities, and doing the right thing every day. At the end of the day, it comes down to trust.
Earning trust means selling quality products at low prices and giving back to communities. But it goes even deeper than that. All over the world, we’re seeing that customers are increasingly aware of the products they are buying and their impact on the world. They have less time to research the products they buy—yet they care even more about how they are sourced. They’ll choose to shop with retailers who provide that transparency so they can feel good about the items they purchase. They expect us to use our strength to make a difference on environmental and social issues.
That is our expectation too. We believe we can deliver for our customers at the same time we create what Dr. Michael Porter from Harvard Business School calls “shared value” for our business and society. In 2005, we set three aspirational goals: to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, create zero waste and sell products that sustain people and the environment.
We made good progress toward those goals, and last November we announced a new 10-year vision to create shared value, which we described as work toward a “new era of trust and transparency” for Walmart. What was once largely about our own operations has expanded and shifted into helping rewire whole social and environmental systems.
We made new commitments to increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our operations and in our supply chain, to create zero waste in key markets, sell more products that sustain people and the environment and expand local sourcing. We’re also working to support the human dignity of workers throughout our supply chain. You can read more about them in this report, as well as the progress we’ve made towards past commitments.
We’re excited about our progress so far. We’re very grateful to be joined in this work by other retailers, suppliers, governments and NGOs as we work toward these goals. We will continue to look for ways to make it easier for customers to not only save money, but also save time to help them make sustainable and responsible choices when they shop with us, so they don’t have to pay more or make tradeoffs.
We want to make a difference, and we want to be a trusted retailer that customers, associates, communities and shareholders are proud of. That is what motivated Sam Walton 25 years ago, it’s what motivates us today, and it will be what motivates us for the next 25 years.
Chief Executive Officer
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.