Sustainability

Notes from the Milestone Meeting

When Walmart began our sustainability journey, I never thought it would lead us to trucks like this.

We’re just beginning formal testing, but this Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck will be 20 percent more aerodynamic than our current trucks and have a micro-turbine hybrid powertrain that can run on diesel, natural gas, biodiesel and probably other fuels still to be developed. It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches. I share it because it gives you a sense of how sustainability is helping us see things in new ways.

This was just one of the innovations we discussed at our Sustainability Milestone Meeting on Monday. We also talked about new ideas around less photogenic topics like air filters, buttons, and even landfills. By seeing through the lens of sustainability, we are accelerating the pace of innovation across our business.

We also heard from several leaders in our company about the progress we’re making against our goals to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain people and the environment.

A few thoughts after my first Milestone Meeting as CEO:

Leaning in on Products
We’re going to continue the good work around energy and waste while really leaning in on products. As we grow to a planet of 9 billion people who all want to live like we do, Walmart needs to provide access to food, clothing, and household goods that are sustainable for the planet at prices people can afford. It’s a huge challenge, but it’s right in line with our mission of saving people money so they can live better.

Thinking Holistically
We need more whole systems thinking. One of the great things about sustainability is that it helps you step back and see the big picture. Our responsibility to the planet is about more than the time a product is in our store. It’s about how it was grown or manufactured, how it was transported, and whether it can be reused or recycled. I especially want to thank the suppliers, NGOs, other retailers, and community members who attended on Monday because this type of effort takes all of us working together.

Caring about People
Sustainability is ultimately about people. Peter Seligmann from Conservation International joined us to share what his group is working on. They have a bold new campaign that will shake people up by pointing out that people need nature more than nature needs us. And they’re right. As a father, one of my “a-ha” moments around sustainability occurred when talking to my sons at the dinner table years ago when they were just boys. I asked them if Walmart should lead on sustainability, and they replied: “Duh, dad.” They’re going to need this planet long after I will.

Sharing the Excitement
Finally, I was reminded that this is important work but it can still be fun. I love innovating for our customers. I love seeing our organization get passionate about big issues. I love the difference Walmart can make. We had so many people from across the business stand up and share the projects they’re working on, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

It’s an exciting time to be at Walmart. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’re working hard every day to get better.

23 Comments

Life

#FiveThingsFriday: The Beauty of Convenient Shopping

ICYMI: An investment in jobs sometimes means an investment in ordinary things … like socks. Check out this news, plus a few new ways to shop with convenience.

Sock it to Me

I’ve lived in the Sooner State, the Natural State, and the Windy City, but I’m thinking the Sock Capital of the World might be worth a visit. Last week, we signed a deal with Renfro Corporation as a part of our commitment to buy $250 billion in products that support American jobs. Renfro has been supplying Walmart with socks and hosiery since the 1970s, and this deal is expected to bring more than 400 manufacturing jobs to Fort Payne, Alabama.

Best in Beauty

It’s nice to pick up a surprise find on a routine shopping trip. But it’s even nicer when someone compiles a list of these surprise finds in one place for you. The good folks at Refinery29 have selected 12 of what they’re calling the “coolest and cheapest” beauty finds at Walmart. They’ve got everything from moisturizer to curling irons for your next impulse purchase.

It’s Like a Tiny Walmart … at a Big Walmart

We’re always testing new things at Walmart, from the latest technology in supercenters to completely new kinds of stores. In Crowley, Texas, we’ve opened one of two Walmart convenience stores (the other opened in Rogers, Arkansas). This little guy is about 2,500 square feet and located in the parking lot of the Crowley Walmart store. You can get gas, ICEEs, hot dogs, and most of your typical c-store fare. If you’re in the area, stop by and let us know what you think.

Welcome to the Family, Moosejaw!

The Walmart brand expanded this week with the acquisition of online outdoor retailer Moosejaw. The Michigan-based company has a great online presence plus 10 physical stores. They’re going to be joining our growing e-commerce team and we couldn’t be happier to have them aboard! Plus, it’s fun to say. Moosejaw … moosejaw…

The Science – and Smart Business – of Sustainability

Thinking green isn’t just good for the environment – it’s also good for business. Did you know we save $1 billion a year through improved fleet efficiency (read: ensuring our trucks are saving as much fuel as possible) alone? If you’re curious about how these efforts translate into real change, check out this piece in Environmental Leader.

Be the first to comment on this article

Sustainability

How We’re Staying On Track to Fight Climate Change

When you pick up a product at Walmart, a number of questions may come to mind: “What’s in it? Where was it made? Will it do what I need it to do?” What you may not always be thinking about is that item’s impact on the environment.

More than a decade ago, Walmart’s then CEO set us on a journey to dig deeper into our business to find ways to provide products that are better for both people and the planet.

Fast-forward to last November, and our current Walmart CEO Doug McMillon issued a new challenge: ensuring that our business can continue delivering sustainable products for generations to come. He laid out our leadership position in the fight against climate change through a commitment to set science-based targets, and Walmart became the first retailer to have its goals approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

Why is setting science-based targets important to Walmart? We know global climate change can pose a threat to our country’s economy and global supply chains — threats such as lower crop yields, increased health costs and disaster-caused property losses. Walmart and other retailers would face a number of challenges if our complex supply chains were weakened by climate-related issues. Addressing climate change is a win-win: good for society and good for Walmart.

There is great opportunity for businesses to address these issues before they happen. By taking the right steps now, we can help reduce risks, lower costs and strengthen supply chains – all while we help the customers of tomorrow get the products they want, when they want them, and at lesser impact to the environment.

Here’s a closer look at what we’re doing.


Be the first to comment on this article

Opportunity

A Walmart Department Manager Graduates to Her Next Step

When I was a student at the University of Indiana, my Walmart job was simply a way of paying bills. After graduation, I was encouraged by my store managers to stay, as they saw promise in me. Thirteen years later, I’m still here. So I fully understand the opportunity that exists to start a career.

Today I’m a co-manager at a supercenter in Beech Grove, Indiana, and it’s awesome to watch others take that same journey. One young woman I recently crossed paths with – Kinder Kaur – is the most passionate associate I’ve ever met. Recently she worked her way up to managing an entire department.

Rewind this story back to 2006. Kinder was a first-generation immigrant from India here with her husband and son trying to make a better life. She worked in an audiovisual business that her husband owned and also as a restaurant server for two and a half years. Next, she got experience in retail as she worked in their family-owned convenience store. Wanting a change, Kinder decided to come to Walmart. She started in our back room, unloading and stocking inventory.

It’s hard work, but Kinder excelled. Her attention to detail made her stand out. Seeing this, I thought she would be a good candidate to try something new: being out on the floor. While she was nervous, with a little support from her team she was ready.

Fast-forward to last fall, and Kinder was shining. She loves being out on the floor interacting with customers, and her sharp eye really matters in the beauty department, where smaller items like nail polish and hair dye need to be meticulously organized.

Not too long ago, our store manager encouraged all of us to apply to enter the company’s new Academy program, where associates can receive extra training that better equips them to help customers. Kinder was a natural candidate, and after completing the program, she participated in her first graduation.

In Kinder’s native India, graduation ceremonies aren’t common. Although she completed high school, she had never worn a cap and gown. Putting on these pieces was an extremely proud moment for Kinder and her family. Her son, Gurpreet, who works in electronics at Walmart, also graduated with his mother. It was awesome to see such a great day of celebration for their family!

Everyone I see return from the Academies training is more excited and attentive than before. They’ve returned with a fresh mindset about how to take care of customers. These Academy locations are opening nationwide almost every week, and soon there will be thousands of associates who’ve graduated.

The Academies program is empowering associates across the country to take charge of their careers. But even better, it’s harnessing the passion of people like Kinder, which is a huge step forward in also transforming our shopping experience.


2 Comments

Business

Galentine's Day: A Fun, Fresh Way to Celebrate the Ladies in Your Life

If you’re a fan of the NBC television hit Parks and Recreation, you might already be familiar with Galentine’s Day – a celebration of female friendship that occurs near Valentine’s Day (usually Feb. 13).

Observed by having a girls’ night out (or in!), or exchanging gifts, it is not meant to substitute for the traditional hearts-and-flowers holiday, but rather a way to acknowledge the members of your #squad who are there for you year-round.

This year, 1,000 Walmart stores are helping customers celebrate with new Galentine’s Day themed merchandise: decorations, party supplies and gifts. While still as adorbz as the traditional Valentine’s Day options, these products are a bit more grown-up, with metallic touches and crafty accents that are cute without being cutesy.

According to a recent report from the National Retail Federation, one in five people who celebrate Valentine’s Day plan to buy gifts for their friends. We talked with our seasonal buyer Wendy Milstead about why Galentine’s Day made sense for Walmart.

How long has Galentine’s Day been on your radar?
We’re always looking for new ways to delight customers. We started working on the Galentine’s Day program last April. It was a reimagining of our “Anti-Valentine’s Day” assortment that featured sayings like “Cupid is Stupid.” We wanted to do something with a more positive message.


How does Galentine’s Day merchandise differ from traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise?
These products are “aged up” with fun phrases and really developed with our customers in mind. Whether it’s the tassel garland with metallic accents or foodie enamel pins with matching "punny" sayings, we wanted to add in a bit of glamour to this fun, empowering holiday.


What’s your favorite item from this collection?
Definitely the plastic wine glass – it’s an assortment of two designs, “cheers my dear” and “sisters before misters." It comes in giftable packaging, and at $1.98 a pop, who wouldn’t guzzle this up?


What did you learn from launching this program?
We always rely on data, but sometimes when you launch a new program, you just have to go with your gut. Luckily I had great support from my managers, who encouraged me not to be afraid to fail. That’s how we stay on the forefront of the industry and work to lead the way.

Be the first to comment on this article