As the world continues to change, I’m often asked, “What is the role of business in society today?” Our founder, Sam Walton, gave us a timeless and meaningful purpose to save people money and help them live a better life. As we celebrate Walmart’s 60th anniversary this year, that purpose still guides us as we work to create environmental, social and economic progress in ways that strengthen our business and benefit our stakeholders. We believe a business’s long-term success will depend on its work to help create a strong, resilient society—for all.
In 2005, we committed to shifting our mindset and broadening our view to take a multi-stakeholder approach to our business. This means not only do we want to be the primary destination for our customers and return value to our shareholders, but we want to do it in a way that creates value for all stakeholders—including our associates, suppliers and other partners, communities and the planet. As we engage and serve our stakeholders, we grow and strengthen our business—and vice versa. If the past couple years have reinforced anything, it’s the need for this kind of shared value approach.
At Walmart, this isn’t something sprinkled throughout our business or added on as an afterthought—we strive to use this approach in all aspects of our business and help guide us. Throughout our journey, we have set goals, measured progress and reported on that progress. And we continually push ourselves, which is why we elevated our aspiration by making a commitment to become a regenerative company—one that puts people and nature at the center of our business practices. This commitment touches all parts of our business. It is anchored in our purpose—and we do that in a way that strives to create equitable opportunity for our associates and suppliers, enhance the sustainability of retail and product supply chains, help create more resilient communities and operate with the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Having a healthy business for the long-term requires healthy relationships and a healthy planet. It also requires trust. It starts with us living our value of acting with integrity. We aim to do that throughout all our work.
There is a path of opportunity for everyone here. As I’ve visited stores, clubs and DCs over the past year, I’ve enjoyed talking with the many associates who are creating long, meaningful careers at Walmart. Last year, we promoted more than 135,000 associates to positions of greater responsibility, and we continue to support and invest in them with job training, rising wages and by making it easier to gain a college degree or certificate by covering the costs of tuition and books through our Live Better U program. In the U.S., 40 percent of management promotions went to people of color and 45 percent to women. Creating opportunities for people is an important part of our work to become a regenerative company, and we believe our success will depend on advancing prosperity and equity for all.
It is also at the heart of our work with communities. When disaster strikes, we are there with food, water and helping hands—but we are there every day strengthening communities. Last year, in the U.S. alone, our associates volunteered close to 1,000 hours a day to causes they care about, and the company donated more than $1.5 billion in cash, food and other products globally. Our experience confirms for us that, when we understand what a community needs and partner with others, we can strengthen the environment to create more opportunities for the people who live there and end up with a stronger business.
Regeneration also means strengthening our planet. This spring, we hit a major milestone with Project Gigaton™: We are halfway toward our goal to reduce or avoid one billion metric tons of greenhouse gases from the global supply chain by 2030. Suppliers have reported a cumulative total of more than 574 million metric tons of emissions reduced or avoided. Additionally, we recently raised $2 billion through our first green bond, and for the past four years we have received an A or A- score from CDP for our transparency on climate action.
After 60 years in business, we are reflecting on the moments of celebration, challenge and change throughout our history. These milestones have a way of making you think about the future. Though you’ll see some of the progress we’ve made this past year in this report, we know there’s more to be done. We will continue to look for ways to make a difference and remain eager to collaborate—we need more businesses and NGOs, as well as governments, to get involved and do more. This work requires collective action.
When our children and grandchildren look back at the work we’re doing now, I hope it’s clear we were part of the solution--working every day to make this world a better place. For as long as we’re on this planet, Walmart will keep doing just that.