April 2013 Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting
Remarks as Prepared for Leslie Dach
Thank you, Andrea. I appreciate all the hard work that you and your team have put into today and all of our success with sustainability at Walmart.
It’s hard to believe, but it was seven and a half years ago – in this very room – when we announced our three core sustainability goals: to be supplied 100% by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain people and the environment.
Today is about our next step forward on the path to being supplied 100% by renewable energy.
When we announced that goal – like the others – we didn’t know how we would get there.
But we knew we had an opportunity and a responsibility to make a difference – for our customers, for our business, and for our communities.
We also recognized very quickly that energy conservation needed to be an equal partner to renewable energy.
Because every kilowatt hour we don’t use is one we don’t pay for. And it is one that by definition is pollution free.
When it came to renewables, we were pretty much starting from scratch.
In fact, in 2005 our renewable energy experience was limited to tests at our experimental stores.
So we had a lot of work to do.
We listened to leaders in the NGO community.
We listened to our suppliers.
We also heard from some of our investors about how this could help our company.
Many of the associates in this room – beyond their day-to-day jobs – put in tremendous hours.
And you scaled new heights … literally.
Marty … we sure are glad you were able to scale down!
We also innovated and experimented with new technologies.
And overcame a few bumps along the way.
But our progress has been strong and steady, and we’ve made a real difference.
In 2006, Walmart Mexico signed Walmart’s first large-scale, long-term power purchase agreement for wind power.
It took four years to complete, and in 2010, began delivering 70% of the power needs for nearly 350 stores.
By the end of this year, more than 700 stores in Mexico will be getting up to 80% of their power from Walmart renewable energy projects throughout the country.
In 2007, we installed our first solar panels on the rooftop of Sam’s Club #6610 in Chino, California.
At the end of 2011, we hit 100 solar rooftops in the U.S.
And by the end of last year, we hit 200.
That’s right – we took five years, from 2005 to 2010, to install the first 100, and only one year for the second 100.
We now have more solar power systems on our facilities than any other company in America.
We also have solar rooftops in five countries – and many more coming online quickly.
And in true Walmart fashion, we didn’t wait around for tomorrow’s innovations.
Instead, we leveraged our size and scale to test new technologies in our stores and distribution centers.
For example, we’ve led in the development of hydrogen fuel cells.
We have 35 stores, clubs and distribution centers currently being served by Bloom Energy fuel cells.
There is real potential for these technologies to someday keep our stores up and running even in the worst storms and power outages.
We’re also looking at geothermal energy – using the ground as an energy source for heating, cooling and other power needs.
And there are more technologies on our drawing boards.
When you add it all up, Walmart has nearly 300 renewable energy projects in development around the world.
The U.S. EPA has named us the #1 user of onsite renewable energy in the United States.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, we also have the most installed solar capacity of any company in the U.S.
And our work in Mexico has earned top renewable energy awards from their Energy Minister.
In short, Walmart is leading – not just in retail, but in all of business.
And not just in the U.S. … but around the world.
So why is our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency important?
And as Mike will discuss, why should Walmart take additional bold steps to dramatically accelerate our work?
First, renewable energy and energy efficiency help drive the productivity loop and take costs out of the system.
In every market, energy is one of our largest controllable operating expenses.
Reducing energy costs is one of the most important things we can do to operate for less. And to then sell for less.
Today at Walmart, the renewable energy we buy meets or beats non-renewable power prices over the course of our contracts.
Conservation plays a critical role too.
Especially with prices going up around the world, the less energy we have to buy, the greater the savings.
We’ve recently signed off on a number of projects across our markets that will generate returns ranging from 20-80%. And that makes our finance teams even happier than our sustainability teams.
We’re installing more LEDs all around our stores: in refrigerated cases, on sales floors and in parking lots.
We’re also making investments in high efficiency HVAC and refrigeration systems and energy tracking systems at the store level.
And these are just a couple of examples.
Second, renewable energy and energy efficiency are important to a low carbon economy and addressing climate change.
Walmart’s biggest greenhouse gas emission source is energy to power our buildings.
It makes up a full 80% of our operational greenhouse gas emissions.
Now we’ve already made a big difference in this area through our commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% from our 2005 base of facilities.
In fact – and this is the first time we’ve said this publicly – we achieved that goal at the end of 2011, a full year ahead of schedule.
That means we’ve now eliminated emissions equal to taking 625,000 cars off the road or powering 445,000 homes for a year.
And the renewable and conservation goals we announce today will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a very meaningful way from our buildings from what they otherwise would be.
Third, as Mike will discuss, renewable energy and energy efficiency are good for our communities.
They reduce air and water pollution associated with fossil fuel electrical generation.
And when people see wind turbines on our properties and solar panels on our stores – or they hear about the clean energy we’re buying and the projects we’re supporting – they feel good about Walmart and the products they buy in our stores.
They know that we’re a company that cares about saving people money … and making a difference on issues that matter.
They know we care about the air we breathe and the water we drink – and not just today, but decades from now.
Before I ask Mike to join me and share with you the new goals we are announcing today, I would like to ask for, as we say in Washington D.C., a point of personal privilege.
This is my last sustainability milestone meeting as a Walmart associate.
I am so proud to have been part of what you have accomplished.
Walmart is recognized as a global leader in sustainability. And we have done it knowing who we are and never forgetting the customer we serve. We have shown that sustainability and being a stronger business go hand in hand.
And as you can see today, there is so much more we can accomplish, for our customers, for our communities and our planet.