Sustainable Food

Agriculture stock photo

Leveraging our global scale

It is estimated that more than 9 billion people will live on this planet by 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. By forming direct connections between farmers, markets and training, we are strengthening local economies, providing access to affordable food and establishing supply chain transparency. The following represents a sampling of the progress we made in three critical focus areas in 2013:


Produce more food with fewer resources

  • Pilot commodity optimization program: We collaborated with 15 large suppliers – representing 30% of our food and beverage sales in North America. By providing farmers with data and tools, they’re able to develop plans to optimize fertilizer and tilling practices in corn and soy crop rotations. This saves money, reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) and, ultimately, delivers more sustainable products to our customers. The pilot commodity optimization program includes 2.5 million acres, with the potential to reduce GHG by 2.3 million metric tons (MMT).
  • Fertilizer optimization: While our work on fertilizer optimization has been foundational, we are exploring opportunities to scale this and other pilots across food commodities. We are in the process of developing new relationships that could total 14 million acres, with the potential to reduce GHG by an estimated 7 MMT.

Support farmers and their communities

Small and medium-sized farmers in emerging markets will be counted on to meet half the increased global demand for food and clothing through 2050, and Walmart has committed to goals to improve their livelihoods:

Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sell $1 billion of goods sourced from 1 million small and medium-sized farmers in emerging markets by the end of 2015: Walmart is sourcing $4 billion from 1.2 million to 1.4 million small and medium-sized farmers. We’ve focused our programmatic sourcing efforts in our produce purchasing, where we have the most direct relationship with farmers, and funded training programs for farmers in several other categories.
  • Train 1 million farmers and farm workers by the end of 2016, of which we expect half to be women: By the end of 2013, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation had contributed to training 307,332 farmers and farm workers in emerging markets, of which 132,405 were women. In addition, the Walmart Foundation funded six projects in Africa and Asia in 2013, which will reach another 370,000 farmers, an estimated 258,000 of them being women.
  • Increase incomes of farmers by at least 10% by the end of 2015: In China, we continue to work with the University of California at Davis and the Chinese Center for Agricultural Policy to conduct an income assessment of produce production bases that supply Walmart China and other retailers.

Sustainably source key food commodities

  • Palm oil: The demand for palm oil in everyday products has contributed to significant deforestation around the world, so we’ve committed to phasing sustainably sourced palm into our private brands. Walmart U.S. successfully transitioned 25% of our private brands to sustainable palm, and we’re scaling that approach across all private brands where palm oil is an ingredient. To date, 27% of palm oil used in our private-label products globally is sustainably sourced.
  • Beef: We’re working toward a dedicated beef supply with environmental specifications, accounting for 15% of the industry by 2023. In 2013, Walmart Brazil worked with suppliers to develop a database of ranches that supply beef and rolled out supplier qualifications and continuous improvement plans. This work is being expanded to support all international markets that source beef from Brazil.
  • Seafood: More than 90% of Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club and Asda’s (U.K.) fresh and frozen, farmed and wild seafood has earned Marine Stewardship Certification or Best Aquaculture Practices, or is engaged in a Fishery Improvement Project. In 2013, our operations in Africa, Brazil, Canada and Chile joined the initiative and we’ve engaged with other retailers, suppliers, scientists and NGOs to develop Seafood Sustainability Program Principles.