Sustainable Agriculture

Live Better: Al Hooks

Tuskegee University and Walmart have partnered to support local farmers in Alabama. Al Hooks is one of those farmers. This is his story.

Last year, Walmart doubled the amount of local produce sold in stores nationwide. That number will continue to grow, and so will family farms like Al's. 

Building a way to feed the future

It is estimated that more than 9 billion people will live on this planet in 2050.  Food and production must increase roughly 70% to feed that many people. As the world’s largest grocer, Walmart has an opportunity to use our global scale and resources to positively impact one of the most important issues facing our world today.

We’re committed to forming direct partnerships between farmers and markets, reducing food waste, motivating farmers to optimize production and sustainably sourcing key agricultural products. By doing so, we’re strengthening local farmers and economies, while providing our customers access to affordable, high-quality food.

At Walmart, we have set some aggressive goals. Here’s an overview of our commitments and our progress.

1. Support farmers and their communities

Our Commitments:

  • Sell $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small- and medium-sized farmers
  • Provide training to 1 million farmers and farm workers – half of whom we expect to be women – in such areas as crop selection and sustainable farming
  • Increase the income by 10% to 15% for the small and medium-sized farmers we source from
  • Double sales of locally-sourced produce in the U.S., accounting for 9% of all the produce we sell

Progress:

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In the U.S., we increased locally sourced produce by 97% in 2011 alone, which accounts for 10% of all the produce we sell. We’re patterning our global direct farm model after our best-in-class Walmart Central America program. We’ve partnered with farmers and key stakeholders around the world to conduct specific training and forge lasting business relationships. 
 

2. Produce more food with fewer resources

Our Commitments:

  • Accelerate the agricultural focus of the Sustainability Index, beginning with a Sustainable Produce Assessment for top producers in our Global Food Sourcing Network
  • Invest more than $1 billion in our global fresh supply chain
  • Reduce food waste in our emerging market stores and clubs by 15% and by 10% in our other markets

Progress:

Through the end of 2011, we invested $167 million into our global fresh supply chain. More than 60 growers on four continents piloted a program to identify opportunities to increase crop yield and lower costs via sustainable farming practices. Walmart Canada successfully eliminated PVC plastics – which had been contaminating the country’s recycling stream – from its produce packaging. Meanwhile, we are examining opportunities to reduce food throwaways in our stores around the world.
 

3. Sustainably source key agriculture products

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Fruit of an oil palm tree

Our Commitments:

  • Require sustainably sourced palm oil for all Walmart private brand products globally
  • Extend Walmart Brazil’s policy of sourcing only beef that does not contribute to deforestation of the Amazon to all of our companies worldwide
  • Require all Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers to become third-party certified as sustainable, using Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) or equivalent standards

Progress:

In 2011, ASDA in the U.K. educated merchants and developed a global baseline of palm oil used in our private brands. Sam’s Club was the first retailer in North America to use sustainable palm oil, and to introduce a product featuring both the Fair Trade Certified Sugar and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) Sustainable Mixed Palm Oil logos. Walmart Brazil developed a system to monitor our beef supply chain beginning in 2012. As of Jan. 31, 2012, 76% of our fresh, frozen, farmed and wild seafood suppliers were third-party certified. An additional 8% had developed the required certification plans.