Our Approach

Customer and Associate looking at mobile phone
Walmart Annual Report 2015 Sams Club Alpharetta, GA Photographs © 2014 Barbara Ries. All rights reserved. 415.460.1440
About This Report

About This Report

Walmart has been reporting on a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics since 2005. We did not seek, nor was there, external assurance from third parties with respect to most of the information in this report; exceptions are noted.

Frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, the United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) inspire our reporting.

We also disclose to external reporting programs such as CDP. In 2018, we received an A- on our climate change disclosure.

This report covers the activities of Walmart for fiscal year ending January 31, 2019 (FY2019) unless otherwise noted. This ESG Report responds to stakeholder requests for a more concise and focused view of our priority topics — how we define them and the long-term strategy to manage them; our aspirational goals and targets; and progress to date. “Walmart” means Walmart Inc., a Delaware corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries, excluding eCommerce subsidiaries, businesses, platforms and/or marketplaces, unless otherwise noted.

Forward-looking statement

This report contains certain forward-looking statements based on Walmart management’s current assumptions and expectations, including statements regarding our sustainability targets, goals, commitments and programs and other business plans, initiatives and objectives. These statements are typically accompanied by the words “could,” “hope,” “believe,” “estimate,” “plan,” “aspire” or similar words. All such statements are intended to enjoy the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Our actual future results, including the achievement of our targets, goals or commitments, could differ materially from our projected results as the result of changes in circumstances, assumptions not being realized, or other risks, uncertainties and factors. Such risks, uncertainties and factors include the risk factors discussed in Item 1A of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), as well as, with respect to our sustainability targets, goals, and commitments outlined in this report or elsewhere, the challenges and assumptions identified in this report under the heading Goals and Targets and other assumptions, risks, uncertainties and factors identified in this report. You should consider the forward-looking statements in this report in conjunction with our Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC. Walmart urges you to consider all of the risks, uncertainties and factors identified above or discussed in such reports carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements in this report. Walmart cannot assure you that the results reflected or implied by any forward-looking statement will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that those results will have the forecasted or expected consequences and effects. The forward-looking statements in this report are made as of the date of this report, unless otherwise indicated, and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

Additional information on a variety of ESG topics

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Our Business

Walmart provides access to high-quality, affordable food and other essential products to people around the world. We strive to do this in a way that enhances economic opportunity, promotes long-term environmental and social sustainability, and strengthens local communities. We believe this approach creates value — for our business and for society.

Our purpose is to save people money so they can live better

  • bag.svg
    More than
    275 MILLION
    customers served every week with convenient access to affordable food, health and wellness products, and general merchandise
  • Location pointer icon
    More than
    11,300 stores
  • Globe with yellow and blue - icon
    58 banners
    in 27 countries and eCommerce websites
  • Asset 65.svg
    $514.4+ billion
    total revenue
  • Our Values

    Respect for the individual

    Service to the customer

    Strive for excellence

    Act with integrity

  • Our Stakeholders

    Customers

    Associates

    Communities

    Shareholders

  • How We Will Execute

    Make every day easier for busy families

    Sharpen culture and become more digital

    Operate with discipline

    Make trust a competitive advantage

Shared Value

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Our approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics is rooted in our company’s purpose to save people money so they can live better.

Key elements of our approach

Creating shared value

Embedded in our purpose is the principle of shared value: We increase business value by helping to address important needs in society and, conversely, we can help transform society through our business. For example, better ESG practices can enhance customer trust, catalyze new product lines, increase productivity, reduce costs and secure future supply, while simultaneously improving livelihoods, advancing economic mobility and opportunity, reducing emissions and waste, and restoring natural capital.

Salient issues

We set ESG priorities based on relevance to our company purpose, key categories and markets; Walmart’s ability to create change; and relative importance to our customers and other stakeholders.

Whole-systems change


To maximize shared value, we aim not only to run a good retail business, but also to make largescale and lasting improvements to the ecosystems most salient to our business. Walmart has a unique ability to make a difference through our strengths, including our approximately 2.2 million associates around the world, supplier relationships, jobs, purchase orders and expertise.

Business leadership

We drive and track performance against our social and environmental priorities through our everyday business activities. For example, we track performance toward our diversity goals through our human resources activities, and toward our aspirational renewable energy goals through real estate and operations activities. ESG initiatives are embedded throughout our company in our business planning and performance management cycle, operating policies, organization roles and coordinating mechanisms, project governance and systems and tools (e.g., the Sustainability Index).

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Aligned philanthropy

Our corporate giving and the Walmart Foundation’s programs complement our business initiatives by seeking to help accelerate social and environmental transformation. In FY2019, through a combination of in-kind and cash gifts, Walmart gave more than $1.4 billion to projects that create opportunity, enhance sustainability and strengthen communities.

Collective action

Since we believe that collective action is essential to transforming systems, we shape our ESG programs in collaboration with other leaders and stakeholders. Project GigatonTM, the Retail Opportunity Network and the Sustainability Index are just a few examples of large-scale, system-wide collaborations we have helped create.

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ESG Priorities, Goals & Targets

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Our ESG priorities are grounded in our long-term business strategy and account for macro-economic, social and environmental trends. These priorities are where we see the most opportunity for shared value.

Stakeholders provide valuable insight into our priorities. In 2014, we formally engaged stakeholders through our materiality review process. The results informed our 2025 commitments, where we committed to progress in topics such as associate opportunity, social challenges in supply chains, environmental sustainability, human rights and community resiliency.

Materiality, as used in the context of this report and our materiality review process, is different than the definition used in the context of filings with the SEC. Issues deemed material for purposes of this report, and for purposes of determining our ESG strategies, may not be considered material for SEC reporting purposes.

We conduct regular updates through ongoing stakeholder engagement and dialogue. We address numerous ESG issues through our business, in partnership with others and through philanthropy, and we provide information on those throughout this report. Three issues that rise to the top of our priority list include: (1) economic opportunity for Walmart associates; (2) the safety and livelihoods of workers in supply chains; and (3) climate change.

Economic opportunity

Workforce development is one of the biggest issues facing economies across the world, especially as technology accelerates the pace of change for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Because the retail industry provides a point of entry into the job market for millions of workers, it has the potential to act as a springboard for economic mobility if workers can gain the experience and skills required to advance.

Our workforce development approach focuses on access, stability and mobility. For example, Walmart U.S. provides an entry point into work for thousands of associates; competitive wages, strong benefits (from healthcare to retirement savings); and access to affordable education opportunities relevant for advancement in retail jobs. With the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence, our training and development programs become even more relevant for workforce success, as they help equip associates with critical 21st century skills.

As described in more detail later in this report, our efforts are underpinned by a commitment to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout our company. By investing in a more diverse and dynamic workforce, we hope to keep pace with evolving customer demands, while also acting as a force for economic inclusion.

Learn more in the Retail opportunity section.

Social issues in the supply chain

With retail operations in 27 countries, Walmart’s supply chain includes more than 100,000 suppliers across the globe. Walmart respects human rights in the supply chain. Our Responsible Sourcing team, working with and through our suppliers, mitigates risks related to worker safety and well-being. We set expectations for our suppliers through our Standards for Suppliers and use audits to help assess whether our standards are being upheld. We also evaluate our global supply chain using internal and external data, risk assessments of particular regions, countries, commodities or products, and guidance from industry experts and NGOs.

Recognizing the need for whole-system transformation in a number of retail supply chains industry-wide, Walmart has committed to use our ability to bring together stakeholders, including industries, civil society, governments, and international organizations, to address the major potential risks to the dignity of workers in a minimum of 10 retail supply chains by 2025. Based on our analyses and where we believe Walmart can have the greatest impact, we’ve identified the following five supply chains:

  • Produce in the U.S. and Mexico
  • Shrimp in Thailand
  • Tuna processed in Thailand
  • Apparel in Bangladesh
  • Electronics sourced for the U.S. retail market supply chain

Learn more about our action in the Responsible supply chains section.

Climate change

We believe climate change is likely to affect national economies and supply chains across the world through potential effects such as lower crop yields, increased health costs and storm damage. According to the Sustainability Consortium, 60% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide come from the global production and use of consumer goods. With operations and a value chain that span the globe, we aim to galvanize collective action to reduce emissions, while taking steps to strengthen the resilience of our business.

Accordingly, we have set a science-based target1 that covers our GHG emissions footprint: we aim to reduce emissions in our operations (Scopes 1 and 2) by 18% by 2025 from 2015 levels; and we are working with suppliers to reduce emissions in our supply chain by 1 gigaton by 2030 through an initiative known as Project Gigaton.

Learn more about our actions in the Climate change section.

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Challenges

The aspirational goals, commitments and targets we set under priority topics are designed to help Walmart aim high, hold ourselves accountable and move at an aggressive pace. Our public ESG commitments galvanize action across our business through senior- level oversight, policies and programs. We hold ourselves accountable through metrics, measurement and annual reporting, including the annual publication of our ESG Report. In 2016, our CEO Doug McMillon announced our 2025 commitments and targets. These are laid out in greater detail at the beginning of the Environmental and Social sections of this report.

ESG issues are complex. We believe that setting goals and driving action toward meeting them is necessary to advance progress on many environmental and social issues facing society. Because success depends on the collective efforts of many, as well as factors such as technical advances, policy changes, economic and price volatility, and supplier engagement, there may be times where we fall short. While we strive in each case to meet our goals and targets, sometimes challenges may delay or block progress.


ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES

ISSUE

EXAMPLE CHALLENGES

Climate change

  • Public policies that affect supply or cost of renewable energy projects
  • Changes to local energy grids
  • Weather patterns increasing days requiring facility heating or cooling
  • Evolution of refrigeration technology
  • Shifts in Walmart asset base or category mix
  • Supplier willingness and capacity to implement and measure emissions reductions projects
  • Lack of enforcement of laws and regulations
  • Innovation in manufacturing or agriculture technologies
  • Alignment of scientific community on measurement approaches

Sustainable supply chain

  • Complexity of commodity supply chains
  • Innovation in manufacturing, agriculture and other product production technologies
  • Adoption of supply chain traceability practices and tools (e.g., vessel monitoring and blockchain)
  • Pricing and availability of certified products
  • Supplier willingness and capacity to adopt sustainable practices
  • Financial trade-offs (e.g., cost, capital and revenue)
  • Materials innovation (e.g., flexible films)

Waste

  • Data and insights into drivers of waste across the supply chain
  • Public policy regarding waste prevention and management
  • Quality of recycling and waste management infrastructure in local markets
  • Volatility of market for recycled materials (demand, supply and cost)
  • Technological innovation in packaging materials, waste management
  • Capital and operating cost of implementing waste management technologies
  • Alignment of industry around packaging solutions
  • Ability to scale waste management processes, tools and behaviors across thousands of facilities in multiple markets

SOCIAL CHALLENGES

ISSUE

EXAMPLE CHALLENGES

Retail Opportunity

  • Acceptance among retailers of the business case for investing in frontline upskilling
  • Engagement of associates in building capabilities relevant for advancement
  • Alignment among employers on the importance of building career pathways and credentials that reflect needed skills for advancement
  • Evolution of cost-effective, practical tools to rapidly build skills among incumbent workers
  • Progress on inclusion in culture at large

Responsible supply chain

  • Upstream risks beyond the reach of traditional responsible sourcing tools
  • Complexity of supply chains
  • Diverse responsible sourcing stakeholders with sometimes conflicting expectations
  • Emerging trends in country-by-country political landscape
  • Scope of international and local laws and regulations
  • Greater calls for transparency

Safer, healtier food & other products

  • Consumer expectations and demand
  • Pace of innovation in product development
  • Adoption of transparent labeling among suppliers
  • Data availability
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Stakeholder Engagement

As a retailer, our company performance depends on direct and frequent engagement with our customers, associates and community leaders, as well as the people who supply our products, hold our stock and evaluate our performance. Stakeholder perspectives and feedback help improve the relevance and effectiveness of the products and services we offer, and the initiatives we support.


STAKEHOLDERS & THEIR ESG PRIORITIES

Associates

  • Job stability and mobility, including wages, benefits, training and promotions
  • Inclusive workplace
  • Community: local giving, hunger and disaster relief

Customer

  • Everyday low price: affordable food and products
  • Associate training, wages and benefits
  • Healthy, environmentally friendly products
  • Local sourcing and responsible sourcing
  • Community: hunger, disaster relief and veterans
  • Transparency

Suppliers

  • Growing their business
  • Understanding Walmart’s standards
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Emissions, deforestation, water and waste
  • Packaging
  • Safer and healthier products
  • Opportunity for diverse suppliers

Communities

  • Local economic impact: taxes, jobs, sourcing and affordable products
  • Support for local organizations
  • Disaster response and resilience
  • Food security
  • Emissions, waste and natural capital

Shareholders & ESG research analysts

  • Enterprise strategy and long-term
  • stock performance
  • Environment: climate and waste
  • Social: associate training and wages, responsible sourcing
  • Governance: ethics and compliance, and executive compensation
  • Regulatory and trade environment

NGOs, grantees & advisory councils

  • Issues vary by group
  • Associate opportunity
  • Inclusion
  • Emissions, waste and natural capital
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Disaster response and resilience
  • Hunger relief
  • Plastic waste