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.
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
|Civil society (NGOs, advisory councils & grantees)|
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
Good jobs and advancement for associates
Equity and inclusion at Walmart and beyond
Growth for suppliers, sellers and local economies
Zero waste in operations, products, packaging
Regeneration of natural resources: forests, land, oceans
Sustainable product supply chains
Dignity of people in supply chains
Access to safer, healthier food, products, and services
Disaster preparedness and relief
Strong corporate governance
Engagement in public policy
Respect for human rights