As we go to press, the world faces uncertainty: COVID-19 waves continue; inflation has kicked up while supply chains remain volatile; the effects of climate change have intensified; social divides seem to have widened.
Yet despite such challenges—or as much spurred on by them—we are more committed than ever to our efforts to become a regenerative company, one that puts humanity and nature at the center of our business practices. We believe that we maximize the value of our company for our customers and other stakeholders by tackling relevant, pressing societal issues through business.
In the pages of this year’s FY2022 Summary (insert FY2022 summary link) the accompanying ESG issue briefs, we share our aspirations, strategies, progress and challenges related to our priority environmental, social and governance issues. A few observations about our FY2022 disclosures:
“Who’s #1? The customer, always.” In a year where so many communities turned to Walmart for access to affordable food, consumables, COVID-19 vaccines and other everyday essentials, it became clearer than ever that delivering our customer proposition is itself a central ESG contribution.
Progress on rewiring systems for equity. Because advancing equity in society requires transformation of complex systems, our strategies in arenas such as economic mobility, racial equity and human rights in supply chains involve long-term, intensive collaboration with others on business and philanthropic initiatives extending beyond the four walls of our company. Substantial improvements in outcomes may be years in the making. Yet we are encouraged by emerging shifts in mindsets, practices, resource flows and policies within each of these arenas, as well as progress within our own company.
Climate action: more than promises. In the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow, many companies set goals to help the world get to net-zero emissions. Walmart has been engaging in climate action since 2005 and enlisting suppliers to do the same since the launch of Project Gigaton in 2017. This year, we reported that we continue to make progress toward our science-based targets for emissions reduction (for example, reporting a 17.5% reduction in FY2021 relative to baseline for Scope 1 and 2 emissions) and we significantly expanded our efforts and disclosures related to our nature goals.
No simple solutions. When it comes to complex societal issues, stakeholders don’t always agree on the way forward and there can be many obstacles to progress. Through our ESG reporting, we aim to provide insight into Walmart’s theories of change, systemic challenges and the efforts of Walmart teams and our partners to overcome them.
Decision-useful reporting. Investors have asked businesses for more consistent and relevant ESG information. Nobody wants an avalanche of data or—at the opposite end of the spectrum—high-level headlines; they want concrete facts regarding policies, practices and results relevant to the creation of shared value. We aim to set the standard for decision-useful reporting. This year, we have responded to investor requests for expanded disclosure in specific arenas (for example, public policy engagement; approach to nature). We continue to aim for consistency and relevance through the structure of our ESG issue briefs and approach to metrics (e.g., clear definitions; sharing progress for the last three fiscal years).
A rose by any other name… Debates have intensified about terminology—ESG, stakeholder capitalism, inclusive capitalism, shared value, etc.—and whether all of this is just a passing fad. Our view is simple: a company’s long-term success depends on its performance on the societal issues most relevant to its business and stakeholders. We can’t have a strong business without the trust and engagement of customers, associates, suppliers, investors, civic partners, communities and a thriving planet. And the fundamentals of that are here to stay.
We remain optimistic. In Walmart's communities around the world, our customers, associates, suppliers and civic partners help one another live better every day in a million ways, big and small. Thank you for your engagement to help make us a better company.