Our ESG priorities

We prioritize the ESG issues that offer the greatest potential for Walmart to create shared value: issues that rank high in terms of relevance to our business and stakeholders as well as Walmart’s ability to make a difference. Based on our most recent ESG priority assessment,213 we have organized our ESG priorities into four leadership themes: Opportunity, Sustainability, Community, and Ethics and Integrity.

We completed our first formal assessment of ESG priorities in 2015, involving stakeholder interviews, surveys and analysis. Each year we have updated our priorities based on ongoing stakeholder dialogue and data gathering.

In spring 2021, we conducted a second formal refresh, supported by a consulting firm. We gathered stakeholder perspectives on over 50 topics in terms of relevance to Walmart’s business, importance to stakeholders and Walmart’s ability to make a difference.

We gathered stakeholder perspectives on these topics from a variety of sources, including:

  • ESG standards and disclosure frameworks, such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
  • ESG ratings frameworks and assessments of Walmart and our peers
  • Walmart customer research and analysis
  • Associate feedback, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups with over 75 associates drawn from across the company, including operations, merchandising, finance, human resources, corporate governance, communications, sustainability, public policy, marketing, health and wellness, and financial services
  • Analysis of social sentiment and media coverage
  • Discussions and written submissions from over 40 suppliers, NGOs and shareholders

Stakeholder feedback allowed us to not only prioritize individual topics, but also to group them into common issues and group issues under common themes. Our ESG themes and priority issues, shown below, reflect this stakeholder feedback.

ESG Approach themes and priorities

* Click here to see a list of the ESG topics that were identified as the highest priority for Walmart and for stakeholders under each of the above issues.

Some insights from this year’s prioritization exercise include:

  • Several topics—including food and safety; diversity, equity and inclusion; privacy, data security and cybersecurity; ethics, compliance, and integrity; and customer and community safety—were viewed as significantly more important now to our business and stakeholders than in our 2015 review.  
  • Walmart is viewed by stakeholders as being distinctive in several arenas, including climate action; associate pay and benefits; and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Stakeholders suggested Walmart has an opportunity to improve disclosures where there is a gap in general public perception and/or awareness of Walmart’s performance on several topics, including associate pay and benefits, conserving and restoring nature, selling responsible and sustainable products, public policy and advocacy, supplier growth and development, and supply chain worker dignity.
  • Topics identified as ‘emerging’—potentially rising in priority going forward—included those related to Walmart’s role as an employer, product availability and supply chain resilience, and data privacy and security.
  • Stakeholders observed that Walmart’s scale provides a unique opportunity to influence systems that underlie many ESG issues.

Each stakeholder group provided unique insights relevant to Walmart’s ESG priorities, including the following:

Summary of stakeholder insights
Customers
  • Walmart U.S. customer priorities include health care, jobs, climate change and economic equality
  • Customers look to Walmart to lead on associate training, investments in wages, efforts to combat climate change, racial equity, and affordable healthcare
Walmart associates
  • Walmart’s primary mission of making life easier for busy families – convenient omni access to affordable, quality food, products, services – should frame our ESG priorities
  • Walmart should seek to lead in ESG issues where we can be distinctive, at the intersection of importance to stakeholders and our business
  • Walmart should take additional steps to help stakeholders understand our ESG priorities, strategies, and results
Suppliers
  • Suppliers support Walmart’s regeneration ambitions and appreciate Walmart’s role as a convener on important ESG issues
  • Walmart and suppliers should partner on issues of mutual concern, including sustainability initiatives, serving communities, and meeting changing needs and customer preferences
Shareholders
  • Shareholders seek transparency on ESG issues through robust reporting and open and frequent dialogue
  • ESG strategies must be integrated into business strategies to be impactful
  • There is a gap between their assessment of Walmart’s ESG performance and widely held perceptions of Walmart, particularly on issues involving Walmart associates
Civil society (NGOs, advisory councils & grantees)
  • Appreciate Walmart’s leadership and role as a convener on key ESG issues
  • Walmart’s core business strengths—including sourcing and selling of products, employing over 2 million people, and presence in thousands of communities—present a tremendous platform for progress on ESG within Walmart and beyond
  • The breadth of Walmart’s ESG priorities and the diversity of Walmart’s business present an opportunity to make progress on multiple intersecting and reinforcing issues by pulling common business levers

Walmart leaders, the ESG Steering Committee, ESG Working Group and external stakeholders reviewed and validated the results and feedback. The findings were shared with key leaders across the organization responsible for each of these issues to inform our aspirations, goals and metrics, strategies, disclosures and engagement approaches.

ESG leadership themes, priority issues and topics

Opportunity


Good jobs and advancement for associates
  • Pay and benefits
  • Upskilling and mobility
  • Employment access, attraction, retention and turnover
  • Engagement

Equity and inclusion at Walmart and beyond

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion

Growth for suppliers, sellers and local economies

  • Supplier growth and development
  • Inclusive and local sourcing

Sustainability


Climate and renewable energy leadership

  • Climate and emissions

Zero waste in operations, products, packaging

  • Operational waste
  • Plastic waste
  • Product waste

Regeneration of natural resources: forests, land, oceans

  • Conserving and restoring nature

Sustainable product supply chains

  • Product availability and supply chain resilience
  • Selling responsible and sustainable products

Dignity of people in supply chains

  • Supply chain compliance
  • Supply chain worker dignity

Community


Serving communities
  • Community engagement
  • Customer and community safety

Access to safer, healthier food, products, and services

  • Access to food, products and services
  • Food safety and product safety
  • Nutrition
  • Access to health and financial services

Disaster preparedness and relief

  • Disaster and crisis management

Ethics & Integrity


Highest ethical and compliance standards

  • Ethics, compliance and integrity
  • Associate health and safety
  • Consumer protection
  • Marketplace oversight and responsibility

Strong corporate governance

  • Effective corporate oversight and management
  • Risk management
  • ESG governance

Engagement in public policy

  • Public policy and advocacy
  • Taxes and economic contribution

Digital citizenship

  • Privacy, data security and cybersecurity

Respect for human rights

  • Human rights