Over the past 30 years, global prosperity has increased by many measures. Life expectancy, school enrollment and access to drinking water are up and technology has opened new doors for billions of people.
Yet at the same time this progress occurs, growing population, globalization and technological disruption have created new social and environmental challenges. Inequality is increasing in many countries, while water supply, forests, air quality, biodiversity and our climate are under unprecedented pressure.
Last November, Walmart renewed our commitment to using our strengths as a large global retailer to do our part in helping to address these challenges. Our “Leadership 2025” agenda reaffirmed and extended our aspiration to help increase economic opportunity, enhance sustainability of value chains and strengthen local community resilience.
This report describes progress in support of that agenda, through our major environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. As explained in the pages that follow, achieving fundamental, lasting resolution of complex ESG challenges requires systemic transformation and leadership across many sectors: companies, governments, civil society—and customers too.
The capabilities of the private sector are unique, and complement what governments and civil society can do. As the world’s largest omni retailer, our capabilities include our associates, jobs, purchase orders, supplier relationships, technologies, store network and our logistics infrastructure. We also have a daily relationship with hundreds of millions of customers and a presence and insight into hundreds of local communities. There’s also our philanthropy and our know-how in coding, marketing, operations, agronomy and product development. Perhaps most importantly, we have the ability to help create market-based solutions—where the behaviors that result in better environmental and social outcomes are also the behaviors incented by the market.
Our aim today is to keep using our strengths in collaboration with others to transform the systems we rely on. We believe that the value-maximizing strategy is the one that creates shared value—value for customers, business and society. Ultimately, environmental, social and economic interests converge for all of us.
Chief Sustainability Officer
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.