Walmart Sustainable Product Expo Gathers Top CEOs to Renew Sustainability Commitments

Our first-ever Sustainable Product Expo begins today, and it’s a great opportunity for Walmart showcase some of the work we’re doing in product sustainability. What’s even more exciting is that it’s a chance for Walmart to collaborate with some of the largest companies in the world to sign new commitments that accelerate innovation in recycling and sustainable agriculture.

Eight of the largest food companies announced pledges to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is affordable and sustainable for the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. The commitments aim to drive more collaboration and efficiency across the current food system.

Additionally, companies joined with Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in announcing plans to launch a groundbreaking recycling initiative called the Closed Loop Fund, with the goal of making recycling available to all Americans.

And these commitments are coming from the top; the CEOs from these companies and organizations — including EDF, Procter& Gamble, PepsiCo, and Campbell Soup Company — are in attendance because they truly believe in the work that Walmart has done, and want to be a big part of it in the future.

Here’s what they had to say:

Environmental Defense Fund
"It is good news that so many prominent CEO's have stepped up and made commitments to reduce GHG's and make their supply chains more sustainable, and EDF looks forward to seeing real progress in the days ahead -- because follow-through is what matters most. We are very proud of our partnership with Walmart, which led to the aggressive 20MMT goal, and we'll be even prouder on the day the company announces it has reached that goal. We know our colleagues at Walmart feel the same way. We are results-oriented organizations -- and strong results begin with the commitments that were made today." – Fred Krupp, president

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
“This partnership highlights the powerful potential of private capital to encourage more efficient use of our resources while spurring local job creation and community engagement. We are excited to be working with leading companies who are committed to developing market-based solutions that can address critical societal and environmental issues in innovative ways.” - John Weinberg, vice chairman and co-head of the Investment Banking Division

Campbell Soup Company
“At Campbell, we seek to make a positive, sustainable impact in the world through our primary purpose – real food that matters for life’s moments. Campbell has a heritage of environmental stewardship that is deeply rooted in our belief that we have a responsibility to nourish the health of our communities and conserve the Earth’s natural resources for future generations. We look forward to working with Walmart, our industry peers and suppliers in optimizing sustainable agriculture and creating efficiencies that strengthen local economies, provide access to affordable and healthy food and benefit the planet.” - Denise Morrison, president and CEO

Kellogg Company
“Because rice is one of our largest ingredient purchases – used for Rice Krispies and Special K worldwide – it’s appropriate that our new partnership with Walmart focuses on helping smallholder rice growers improve their practices and livelihoods, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” – John Bryant, president and CEO 

General Mills
“For the global food system, the challenge is clear: How do we produce more food for the world’s growing population and conserve and protect the natural resources and communities upon which our business depends? In response to this challenge, General Mills announced in 2013 our commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of our 10 priority ingredients by 2020 – representing more than 50 percent of our annual raw material purchases. Today’s joint commitment with Walmart builds on these efforts to advance sustainable agriculture and create long-term value for society, the environment, and business.” – Ken Powell, chairman and CEO

“Agriculture is at the center of some of the world’s most pressing challenges from meeting rising global demands to conserving precious natural resources like soil and water,” said Hugh Grant, Chairman and CEO of Monsanto Company. “But given the right tools, farmers have the opportunity to be at the forefront of solutions to grow even more safe, affordable, nutritious and sustainable food for all of us around the world. That’s why the people of Monsanto are proud to partner with our customers to continue to innovate and improve nutrient use efficiency on 1 million acres of US cropland in support of this effort. Farmers are good stewards of the land today and with continued investments in innovation, can accomplish even more in the future.” - Hugh Grant, chairman and CEO

Coca-Cola North America
“Because Coca-Cola views packaging as a valuable resource, we are developing initiatives to recover and reuse our packaging. Investing in innovative programs like Walmart’s Closed Loop Fund provides more communities with access to recycling infrastructure, while decreasing the materials deposited in landfills.” – Sandy Douglas, president

“We’re pleased that, together with Walmart, we’ll be expanding PepsiCo’s Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) to cover 500,000 acres under sustainable management practices in North America.  The SFI, which was developed collaboratively with stakeholders, establishes a clear and universal standard for defining, implementing and quantifying sustainable agriculture.  Integral to this partnership is joint action to develop and encourage adoption of low-carbon fertilizers, a key element of sustainable farming practices. We are also honored to join Walmart and industry partners in creating The Closed Loop Fund, an innovative funding mechanism to support and scale initiatives to increase recycling rates across the United States.” - Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO

Procter & Gamble
 “The “Closed Loop Fund” is an innovative step to enable local municipalities to invest in ways to increase local recycling to give more consumers consistent and reliable ways to reduce waste by recycling more of their everyday products.  That will, in turn, enable a larger supply of usable, recyclable content, which will enable manufactures to give consumers what they want - more packaging with recycled materials.  This is good for consumers, and good for the environment.” - A.G. Lafley, chairman of the board, president, and CEO

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Family of Companies
“Babies hold a special place in our hearts at Johnson & Johnson. Our Babies Will Inherit Our Planet® and that’s why we’ve always been committed to caring for our natural resources. We launched our Care to Recycle® campaign to raise awareness of recycling, particularly in the bathroom where most of our products are used. We are thrilled to be a founding member of the Closed Loop Fund which will help bring recycling to more American households.” - Roberto Marques, company group chairman, North America

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. 
“Our target to make 100 percent of our K-Cup® packs for Keurig® brewing systems recyclable by 2020 is multi-faceted.  Part of accomplishing this target requires changes to the recycling infrastructure that Keurig Green Mountain can’t address alone.  This collective approach brings to life the power of partnerships, which is one of our core company values.  We share the commitment of our peers to explore solutions together in the quest to use our products and our business to impact the world in a positive way.” – Brian Kelley, president and CEO 

SC Johnson
“We’re honored to join Walmart and others in the pursuit of real progress in waste reduction.”  – Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO

“At Unilever we’ve put sustainable living at the heart of our business model – through our brands, innovation, sourcing and operations.  While we are making progress, the environmental, social, and economic issues we face as a society are far too complex for any individual, company, or government to tackle alone. The Closed Loop Fund is a great example of how we can drive transformational change through partnership. We’re excited to join forces as an industry to address the challenge of increasing recycling rates.” - Kees Kruythoff, president, North America 

1 Comment


Blue Star Families Helps Unsung Heroes: Military Spouses

When I said, “I do” under a bower of roses to my husband, resplendent in his Marine Corps dress blues, I had no idea that the years ahead would bring the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the long war, many combat deployments and many moves.

I love my husband and found extraordinary meaning in helping to serve my country. Along the way, I also found that the costs can be very high.

Like many military spouses, I moved. I moved and moved again. I’ve lost careers that I cared about – and was good at. These jobs helped support my family while resettling my children and maintaining a home for my husband as he retrained and left again. It’s a lonely place to be. But I wasn’t alone.

Many military spouses deal with additional obstacles like putting the needs of the military above their own career goals. These obstacles can make full-time employment nearly impossible. That’s one of the reasons why a group of military spouses (including myself) got together in 2009 to create Blue Star Families, a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering military families. We want our families to thrive by providing them resources, support and connections to their civilian communities.

According to Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, most military spouses are not working. More than 75% of military spouses surveyed say that being a military spouse has hurt their career, and more than half of those not employed are actively seeking work. Of the minority of spouses who do work consistently, most earn less than $20,000 a year.

This kind of financial instability hurts military families. We know that dual income military families are able to better participate in their local communities and thrive while they serve. But, unlike their civilian counterparts, most military families face more hardships and uncertainties, because they volunteered to serve.

This is why Blue Star Families applauds Walmart for their new initiative to tackle this challenge affecting our military and their families. Walmart is rolling out their Military Spouse Career Connection. Beginning November 12, 2018, military spouses who apply for a job with Walmart or Sam’s Club will be given preferential hiring status.

Military spouses move so frequently that delays in hiring can mean they are not able to work at all during a duty station. Walmart and Sam’s Club can be a particularly good career path for military spouses, because there’s almost certainly a Walmart store anywhere the military sends families in the United States.

Blue Star Families is also working to solve the problem of military spouse unemployment. One of our major initiatives in this area is Spouseforce, an interactive platform for career-minded military spouses. It works in some ways like a dating app--both employer and employee can identify a possibly compatible match before making any contact.

It’s my hope that our combined efforts will help military families become more financially independent, and that spouses will have greater access to fulfilling, meaningful careers they can take with them wherever the military sends them.

I invite you to learn more about Blue Star Families and join us as a Blue Star Neighbor to show you’re a supporter of military families. When you stand with us, you help us create more opportunities for military families in your neighborhood, across the country and around the world.



This Bud’s for the Future of Our Planet

Over the years, the Budweiser logo has come to represent many things beyond just beer: the Budweiser frogs, the greeting "Wassup?" and, of course, the majestic Clydesdales. But soon you may be seeing a new Budweiser logo that symbolizes even more.

Anheuser-Busch, which first introduced Budweiser Lager Beer in 1876, is taking a serious look at how the way beer is produced can help make a difference for our planet.

To highlight its commitment, the company created a special "Brewed with 100% Renewable Electricity" logo that now appears on all Budweiser sold in the U.S. Just as iguanas Frank and Louie became popular mascots for the brand, the new logo will hopefully become a recognizable mark of social responsibility.

These efforts don’t end at the logo, however. The company took its ambitious sustainability goals and joined Walmart’s Project Gigaton, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chain by 1 billion metric tons by 2030.

The brewer set its own goals that it hopes to meet by 2025. Its four areas of focus are:

  • Renewable electricity and carbon reduction
  • Water stewardship
  • Smart agriculture
  • Circular packaging

"Achieving ambitious goals requires cooperation from stakeholders across the board. When you add efforts from wholesalers, suppliers and consumers to those from companies like Walmart and Anheuser-Busch — companies who are committed to the cause — you’ve got a chance to make a real difference," said Angie Slaughter, vice president of sustainability procurement at Anheuser-Busch, North America.

A major milestone was reached when the brewer announced a wind energy partnership with ENEL Green Power in 2017. Since January of this year, 50% of Anheuser-Busch’s purchased electricity has come from a wind farm at Thunder Ranch, Oklahoma. That’s enough renewable electricity to brew more than 20 billion 12-ounce servings of beer in the U.S. each year.

The Budweiser brand carries the flag for the renewable electricity goal pledged by the brewer. "When you consider the Budweiser beer volume in North America, we sell 15 million 12-ounce servings every day, and we have 15 million opportunities with each one to get customers involved in conversations over a beer," Angie said of Budweiser’s consumers. "We also want to encourage other companies to be inspired to do more. The new symbol is available for other companies to show how they’re using renewable electricity in their brands."

The wind farm hits on another shared interest between the brewery and Walmart: creating American jobs. Angie said the development of the farm is a 15-year project, and around 400 temporary jobs were created at the peak of construction. Some jobs will remain long term.

Anheuser-Busch itself is an American success story – one that began in 1860.

"We are proud to call the United States our home and are proud to continue to brew America’s best beers," said Angel Beasley, manager of trade marketing supporting the Walmart business. "It makes sense especially to amplify our American heritage with Walmart’s Made in the USA program. In fact, 98% of the primary ingredients used in the beers Anheuser-Busch proudly brews are grown in the U.S."

There are more than 18,000 employees nationwide. Budweiser’s production alone requires over 1,700 people, Angel said.

The next time you pass a Budweiser display in your local Walmart store or crack open a cold one, you’ll know that it’s more than an adult beverage – and that the company is doing more than coming up with clever commercials.

Be the first to comment on this article


Army Principles Helped This Walmart Manager Move Up the Ranks

Elise Hackstall no longer wears an Army uniform. But to this day, the military values she learned in her years of service still inform her identity.

Take, for example, the honor code she learned as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy: She’s been known to quote it when talking to her 10-year-old daughter about the importance of honesty.

Then there’s a skill she honed as an Army personnel officer: Be direct and constructive, even when the message you’re conveying might be tough to hear.

For Hackstall, commitment, accountability and leadership weren’t abstract principles but essential traits that propelled her through a military career at Fort Knox.

When she joined Walmart, she quickly noticed a cultural overlap. The company's four basic beliefs had plenty in common with the seven Army values she already knew, sharing an emphasis on respect and integrity.

"A lot of it aligned with who I was," Hackstall says, "so that made Walmart a great fit for me."

That was over 10 years ago. Since then, Hackstall has been promoted multiple times. She started as a shift manager in Columbus, Georgia and became store manager at the biggest Walmart Supercenter in her market. That led her to an opportunity to move into human resources management.

Putting in the (Team) Work

Most recently, she moved back to operations as a developmental market manager, training to supervise teams across multiple stores. This position will give her the skills to apply for market manager positions that open up after her training is complete.

The training, along with her previous position as a market human resources manager across stores in four states, has introduced Hackstall to Walmart employees from a variety of backgrounds.

"It's really helped me to have a bigger appreciation of what kind of people make up our business—people from all over the country who help our stores to be successful," she says.

Hackstall's longstanding interest in human resources work extends back to her Army service at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where she was stationed after graduating from West Point. Hackstall served as a personnel officer and continued in human resources positions after transitioning to the Army Reserve in 2008.

She continued to serve as a reserve officer until this past spring, when she left the military to focus on her career with Walmart.

Hiring Heroes

Walmart is committed to recruiting former military members and matching them with jobs that fit their skills. Hackstall points out three skills that veterans often carry into civilian life: communication, commitment and accountability.

Military people know how to come up with a plan, articulate that plan and carry it out. When a store manager needs someone to run point on Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year, she says, "If there's a veteran in the store, many times that's the person."

Hackstall adds that Walmart helps to create a network for the veterans it recruits. Recently, she talked with someone who was leaving the military and considering coming to Walmart. What advice did she offer?

"Anybody who joins Walmart will quickly realize whether the company is a fit for them or not," she says. "It's fast-paced, you have to be extremely adaptable, and you can't be rigid in your thought process."

"Limitless" Job Opportunities

Hackstall notes that Walmart offers a broad range of roles that might not be obvious to candidates who think mainly of the day-to-day tasks at a store. From medical services to real estate to information systems, Walmart's size creates all kinds of job types.

"There are limitless opportunities with this company," she says. "Whatever you want to do—short of being a brain surgeon or an astronaut—you can do for Walmart."

For Hackstall, spending time in her new role as developmental market manager fits with her long-term plan to gain experience in multiple facets of Walmart's business. When asked about the future, she doesn't hesitate.

"My end goal is to be the head of HR for the company," she says. "Every single position that I've taken has been to make sure that I am putting myself in a place where I can be competitive for that role."



In the ‘Nick’ of Time, Walmart Driver Helps Hurricane Baby

The week that Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, Florida, Nick Davis, like many other Walmart drivers, chose to forgo his regular trucking route.

With a shower trailer hitched to the back of his truck, he left his home in LaGrange, Georgia, to meet associates and their families at a local motel where they took shelter from damaged homes in the wake of the storm. That’s where he met Lorrainda, her husband, Wilmer, and their newborn son, Luke – a family in search of shelter after being discharged from the hospital and without a home only three days after Luke was born.

“If that was me and my family, I would want help.” Nick said, remembering the moment he saw Luke and his parents. So that’s what he did, along with several other Walmart truck drivers helping on the ground. “I was there at the right time and I wasn’t going to let them go.”

Nick and the team at the Walmart supercenter on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach gathered last week to give Luke’s parents the baby shower they deserve, complete with one year of free Parent’s Choice diapers. You can see more of their story in the video above.

Editor’s note: Disaster relief remains one of the top priorities for charitable giving from Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and Sam’s Club, with a combined total of over $12 million contributed to hurricane response and relief just this year.