Regeneration of natural resources: forests, land, oceans
SASB: CG-MR-410a.1; CG-AA-430a.2; CG-AA-430b.3; CG-AA-440a.1; CG-HP-430a.1; FB-FR-430a.3
UN SDGs: 14, 15
E | Last Updated: July 7, 2021
We aspire to become a regenerative company, one dedicated to placing nature and humanity at the center of our business practices. Through our business and philanthropic initiatives, we have set a goal to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.
Key goals & metrics
|Conserve one acre of land for every acre developed by Walmart U.S. stores||Total acres conserved through Acres for America since 2005||1.4 million acres||>1.4 million acres||>1.6 million acres|
|Source 20 key commodities more sustainably by 2025|
Fresh & frozen seafood
Goal: By 2025, all Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., Asda128 Walmart Canada, Walmart Mexico and Walmart Central America fresh, frozen, farmed and wild-caught seafood suppliers will source from fisheries that are third-party certified as sustainable, actively working toward certification or engaged in a fishery improvement project129 (FIP) or Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP)
|Percentage of sustainably sourced fresh and frozen, wild-caught and farmed, seafood sourced for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., Walmart Canada, Walmart Mexico and Walmart Central America, based on supplier reports||Walmart U.S. & Sam’s Club:|
|Walmart U.S. & Sam’s Club: ~100%|
Sam’s Club U.S.:
Walmart Central America:
|Percentage of wild-caught, fresh and frozen seafood sustainably sourced (certified by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) – recognized program or participating in a FIP), based on supplier reports.||Walmart U.S.: ~100%||Walmart U.S.: 98%|
Walmart U.S.: 98%135
Sam’s Club U.S.: ~100%136
Walmart Canada: 88%137
Walmart Mexico: 37%138
Walmart Central America: 22%139
|Percentage of fresh and frozen farmed seafood sustainably sourced (certified by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), or Global GAP or other third-party certification following the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) guidelines), based on supplier reports||Walmart U.S. & Sam’s Club: 99.8%||Walmart U.S. & Sam’s Club: 99%|
Walmart U.S.: 100% 140
Sam’s Club U.S.: 100%141
Walmart Canada: 89%142
Walmart Mexico: 84%143
Walmart Central America: 83%144
Goal: By 2025, Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S. and Walmart Canada will require all canned light and white tuna suppliers to source from fisheries that are third-party certified as sustainable, actively working toward certification, or engaged in a fishery improvement project (FIP) 145 147
|Percentage of canned tuna sustainably sourced (certified by MSC or a program which follows Food and Agriculture Organization guidelines and is recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) or is in a FIP), based on supplier reports|
Walmart U.S.: 35% 146
Sam’s Club U.S.: 3% 148
Walmart Canada: 34%149
Source private brand coffee more sustainably
|Percentage of private brand coffee net sales that were sourced and certified as sustainable (UTZ-Rainforest Alliance and/or Fair Trade USA), based on supplier reports|
Walmart U.S.: N/A
Sam’s Club U.S.: 89%
Sam’s Club U.S.: 91%
Walmart U.S.: 100%
Sam’s Club U.S.: 92%
Total Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S.: 98%
Bananas & pineapples
Goal: Source 100% of all Cavendish bananas and pineapples sold in Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S. and Asda151 stores from farms that have received third-party certifications (e.g., Rainforest Alliance, Sustainably Grown and Fair Trade USA)
|Percentage of bananas and pineapples that were sourced and certified as sustainable, based on supplier reports|
96% Sam’s Club U.S.
82% Sam’s Club U.S.
100% Sam’s Club U.S.153
96% Sam’s Club U.S.156
Apparel & home textiles
Goal: By 2022, source apparel and home textile products sold in Walmart U.S. stores only from suppliers working with textile mills that use the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index Facility Environmental Module to measure and help improve environmental performance
|Percentage of net product sales in apparel and soft home categories sourced from suppliers reporting that at least one facility that has completed the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg FEM assessment for Walmart U.S.||45%||>65%||>82%|
|Goal: Source 100% of cotton in private brand apparel and soft home textile products sold in Walmart U.S. stores as “more sustainable” by 2025||Percentage of cotton volume for Walmart U.S. private brand apparel and soft home textile products sourced as “more sustainable” cotton, based on supplier reports (Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton USA, organic, recycled cotton, or Fair Trade USA)158||47%159|
|Goal: Source 50% of polyester in private brand apparel and soft home textile products sold in Walmart U.S. stores as recycled polyester by 2025||Percentage of polyester volume for Walmart U.S. private-brand apparel and soft home textile products sourced as recycled polyester, based on supplier reports||22%160|
Goal: 100% of palm oil in Walmart private-brand products sourced from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or equivalent-certified palm oil (mass balance and segregated supply chain systems) by the end of 2020161
|Percentage of supplier-reported palm oil volume in Walmart Inc. private brand products certified as sustainable by RSPO or Rainforest Alliance||~60% certified||~85% certified||~90% certified162|
Pulp & paper
Goal: Source pulp & paper products with zero net deforestation in 100% of Walmart global private brand products by 2020163
|Percentage of supplier-reported pulp and paper volume in Walmart Inc. private brand products that is recyclable or certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)||91%||97%||97%164|
Encourage suppliers to develop fertilizer optimization plans
|Acres involved in fertilizer optimization and soil health practice programs, based on supplier reports||>6 million acres||>1.5 million acres|
|Number of suppliers participating in fertilizer optimization and soil health plans||16||24|
See all data and progress toward goals and commitments in our ESG Data Table.
Relevance to our business & society
Many of the products that Walmart sells—from bananas to cotton sheets to shampoo—come from nature or depend on ingredients that come from nature.
Nature provides services and resources to product supply chains and the wider economy worth around $125 trillion per year, according to WWF. These include climate regulation, storm and flood protection, clean water, erosion and soil regulation, materials, pollination and energy that are essential to life—and business—on this planet.
Scientists tell us that the world has pushed its natural resources to the point of crisis, resulting in the degradation and loss of critical landscapes, the eradication of many species of plants and animals, and the acceleration of climate change. This growing crisis will impact life generally, including in the communities where we operate and in the places where products we sell originate.
Without action, this degradation of resources could make certain products too expensive to produce or make them altogether unavailable. And natural services we all rely on like water and air purification, crop pollination and disease control could be at risk.
Our stakeholders have called for Walmart and others to transform product supply chains toward a regenerative approach — one that restores, renews and replenishes nature — to help reverse negative trends and sustain critical resources for the future. Scientists estimate that a regenerative approach to agriculture and the restoration of nature can also provide around a third of the solution to climate change. Walmart and companies like us need to be part of the solution to maintain our social license to operate, uphold supply and continue to access the natural capital we all need to thrive.
Walmart works with our suppliers and others to increase the adoption of sustainable and regenerative practices in supply chains. Building upon years of work promoting the sustainable production of important commodities, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed in 2020 to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030. We seek to achieve these goals by:
- Using our purchasing power to source products more sustainably, including by leveraging product certifications that credibly advance sustainability
- Engaging our suppliers and others to continually improve practices in ways that promote forest, field and ocean health
- Investing in tools and programs that promote systemic change – for example, certifications and standards; traceability and transparency tools; and the capacity to shift practices
Key strategies & progress
Our efforts to better manage, conserve and restore nature focus on critical landscapes and seascapes that have high value for nature, relate to our product sourcing footprint and afford opportunities for Walmart, our suppliers, or non-governmental organization (NGO) collaborators to influence change.
|In 2005, Walmart committed to preserve at least one acre of natural habitat for every acre of land developed by the company in the U.S. through the Walmart Acres for America program, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). NFWF reports that the program has since become one of the most effective public-private land conservation partnership in the U.S., helping to conserve more than 1.6 million acres of land since inception. In 2020, Walmart Acres for America awarded nearly $3.4 million in grants for projects in Arizona, Hawaii, California, Tennessee, Maine, Virginia and Ohio for the protection of more than 118,500 acres. The 1.6 million acres conserved through the end of FY2021 is several times greater than the total number of acres Walmart U.S. has developed, and the acres conserved in recent years far outpaces the number of acres Walmart has developed over that period.|
Sourcing more sustainably
As a retailer, the primary way we can help to protect, responsibly manage and restore natural resources is through the products we purchase and sell. Our sourcing teams seek to procure products and ingredient lines that support our regenerative ambitions and advance our nature goals. In some instances, credible third-party certifications help us validate that products meet a standard that is more sustainable than conventional products. Certifications can help suppliers focus on practices that improve sustainability and can provide third-party validation that the standards have been met. In supply chains lacking credible or scalable certifications, we may encourage suppliers to use other tools and strategies to support continuous improvement toward sustainability.
Certifications supporting Walmart’s nature goals & commitments
|Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Rainforest Alliance|
|UTZ-Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade USA|
Pulp & paper
|Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, Sustainable Forestry Initiative|
Farm-raised seafood & wild-caught seafood
|Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), or certified by a program which follows Food and Agriculture Organization guidelines and is recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI)|
|Better Cotton, Cotton USA, organic, recycled cotton, Fair Trade USA|
Bananas & pineapples
|Rainforest Alliance, Sustainably Grown or Fair Trade USA|
Overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing pose a significant threat to marine ecosystems.
We have a goal that by 2025, all Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., Asda,165 Walmart Canada, Walmart Mexico and Walmart Central America suppliers of farmed and wild-caught seafood—fresh and frozen—will source from fisheries that are third-party certified as sustainable, actively working toward certification, or engaged in fishery improvement projects. As of the end of FY2021 (based on supplier reports), we have achieved nearly 100% for Walmart U.S.166 and Sam’s Club U.S.167, respectively. We have also seen strong results from other Walmart markets, including Canada (89%)168, Mexico (96%)169 and Central America (73%).170
In addition, Walmart has a goal for our Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S. and Walmart Canada businesses to source canned tuna as either Marine Stewardship Council-certified or from a fishery improvement project actively working toward certification. In FY2021, 85% of Walmart U.S. Great Value canned tuna met this objective; by the first quarter of FY2022, we had achieved 100% MSC certified.171 Across our entire shelf-stable tuna assortment (private brands and supplier brands) in FY2021, Walmart U.S. achieved 35%172, Sam’s Club U.S. achieved 3%173 and Walmart Canada achieved 34%174.
Palm oil is an ingredient found in a variety of food and consumer products and widely used as cooking oil in many parts of the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund, high demand for palm oil has contributed to deforestation and climate change. Walmart set a goal for our private brand products with palm oil to be 100% sourced with zero net deforestation in accordance with the principles and criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), or equivalent standards, by 2020. We asked our suppliers to help us reach this goal by doing three things:
- Source 100% RSPO mass balance or segregated certified sustainable palm oil in all Walmart private brand food and consumables products
- Incorporate an RSPO mass balance or segregated certification requirement into product specifications as items are created and bid and update existing specifications when necessary
- Annually measure and report palm oil use for 100% of Walmart private brand products
Suppliers responding to our palm oil survey reported that, by the end of 2020, we achieved approximately 90% certified sustainable palm oil in our global private-brand supply chain with approximately 96% in our Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. and Canada markets.175 While we missed our target, we still continue to engage private-brand suppliers to meet these standards and are pushing for even more ambitious goals.
We have increased our ambition for the next five years, establishing two new 2025 goals to increase the sustainable supply of palm oil:
- Private brand products containing any form of palm oil (crude, refined, palm kernel oil, fractions, expellers and derivatives) sourced with no deforestation or conversion in accordance with RSPO segregated certification or equivalent standards
- National brand suppliers to Walmart using palm oil will use only palm oil sourced in accordance with RSPO mass balance and segregated certification, or equivalent standards
We plan to report on progress against these new objectives annually.
Beef & soy
Beef and soy production, particularly in certain areas of South America, can contribute to deforestation. Walmart set goals to source 100% of beef or soy coming from critical landscapes in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay as verified deforestation-free. Meeting these goals has been challenging due to lack of access to tools to verify that products are free of deforestation and/or certified to a credible standard. To help us meet our goals, we have asked suppliers sourcing from Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay to:
- Verify their sourcing of deforestation-free beef from certain regions using aerial verification tools such as Terras, AgroTools, Safe Trace and SIMFaz
- Source soy certified by the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, Cefetra Certified Responsible Soy, the Proterra Standard or equivalent standards, or demonstrate deforestation- and conversion-free sourcing to the plantation of origin through traceability reports or verifiable geospatial monitoring tools
- Support regional efforts that promote sustainable production, grazing management improvements and reforestation efforts
- Measure and report beef and soy use and sourcing information annually
Pulp & paper
Sustainable sourcing of pulp, paper, paperboard and timber can contribute to forest health. By 2025, Walmart’s goal is that our private brand products made of pulp, paper and timber will be sourced deforestation- and conversion-free.
Walmart is strengthening the sustainability requirements applied to the sourcing of its paper, pulp and timber products (excluding wood pencils) sold in its U.S. stores’ stationery departments. We ask our global suppliers that their products be made from:
- Recycled material;
- Virgin fiber certified to standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC); or
- A mix of recycled and certified virgin fiber
Suppliers responding to our pulp and paper survey reported that, by the end of 2020, 97% of the pulp and paper in private brand products they supplied to Walmart was either recycled or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, Sustainable Forestry Initiative. We’re also asking our global private brand suppliers to source virgin fiber and timber originating from high-priority countries176 in accordance with full FSC certification of forest management by the end of 2025, when it is available in quantities, performance characteristics and prices that meet our suppliers’ needs.
Fresh produce & floral
Pollinators are essential for approximately 75% of major food crop production, yet they are threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, climate change, invasive plant species and pathogens. In 2021, Walmart U.S. announced new pollinator commitments that include a goal to source 100% of the fresh produce and floral we sell in our in-store produce departments by 2025 from suppliers that adopt integrated pest management practices, as verified by a third-party. We will report on this annually.
In 2017, we set a goal to more sustainably source the private brand coffee found in Walmart stores in the U.S. by 2020 by having 100% certified through Fair Trade USA, Rainforest Alliance Certified or UTZ. We met this goal one year ahead of schedule. We since expanded our ambition to include Sam’s Club U.S. private brand coffee; as of the end of FY2021, we had achieved 92% in Sam’s Club U.S. Overall, 98% of private-brand coffee sales across the Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. private brands was certified sustainable.
Apparel & soft home
Walmart has a goal to source cotton more sustainably, which means working with suppliers to use cotton sources that aim to continuously improve environmental and social performance on the fields where cotton is grown - such as maximizing land use efficiency and yield, improving soil health, optimizing inputs like water and chemicals, decreasing energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and promoting conditions that are better for workers and farmers. We aim to source 100% of the cotton for Walmart U.S. stores private-brand apparel and soft home textile products from more sustainable cotton sources by 2025, including recycled cotton or cotton certified under a recognized program such as Better Cotton, Cotton USA, Organic or Fair Trade USA. As of the end of FY2021, suppliers reported that more than 47%177 of the cotton volume for Walmart U.S. private-brand apparel and soft home textile products was sourced as more sustainable cotton. We also aim to source 50% of the polyester for Walmart U.S. stores private brand apparel and soft home textile products as recycled polyester by 2025. As of the end of FY2021, suppliers reported that 22%178 of the polyester volume for Walmart U.S. private-brand apparel and soft home textile products was sourced as recycled polyester.
Engaging suppliers & others to accelerate progress
We seek to expand our impact by engaging suppliers in pursuing ambitious nature initiatives and by collaborating with others to pursue common objectives. This includes encouraging suppliers to undertake sustainability initiatives and report their progress (for example, through Project GigatonTM and The Sustainability Insight System (THESIS) Index; providing resources and forums to share best practices; and supporting collective action among retailers, suppliers, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders through special initiatives and consortia.
Encouraging suppliers to engage & report progress
We encourage our suppliers to engage and report progress on sustainability initiatives related to nature. Approximately 70% of our U.S. net sales are represented by suppliers who reported to one or more of Walmart’s sustainability surveys. Some examples:
Project Gigaton & relevance for nature
Since 2017, more than 3,100 suppliers have joined Project Gigaton, and more than 2,100 of those suppliers have set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-limited) goals with a target of avoiding one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of emissions from our global value chain by 2030. The Project Gigaton platform offers resources such as calculators to help suppliers set and report on goals, workshops on best practices and links to additional resources provided by Walmart or third parties.
While we launched the project to focus on emissions, the scope includes management, restoration and conservation of natural ecosystems. For example, Agriculture and Forests are two of the six Project Gigaton action areas or “pillars.”
The Agriculture pillar invites suppliers to work on and report on fertilizer optimization, manure management, grazing optimization and soil management. For example, we are encouraging our beef suppliers to improve grain sourcing and grazing management practices across a total of 12 million acres. Well-managed grazing not only can help store carbon in the soil, but it can also help secure clean water, enhance habitats and sustain rural communities. We have engaged our suppliers and secured a commitment from Tyson, for a total of 5 million acres. As another example, Walmart initiated a place-based project in collaboration with Indigo Ag to source Great Value Rice from Arkansas. Growers will be implementing regenerative practices, including crop rotation, reduced tillage and zero-grade, multiple inlet and furrow irrigation. Walmart anticipates the outcomes of the project to deliver carbon sequestration, reduced fertilizer use, reduced water use and improved soil health.
The Forest pillar encourages suppliers to report on initiatives aligned with our forest goals as well as our Project Gigaton emissions avoidance targets, including the volume of certified palm oil, recycled paper, certified timber and restoration initiatives. We also encourage suppliers to report through CDP’s forest survey, which feeds into Project Gigaton.
As of the end of FY2021, more than 430 suppliers have joined Project Gigaton and are reporting progress through the Forests and/or Agriculture pillars. Looking ahead, we plan to enhance reporting beyond forest and agriculture initiatives to capture additional supplier goals and progress regarding natural ecosystems.
THESIS is a science-based, third-party survey tool developed by The Sustainability Consortium in collaboration with universities, NGOs and suppliers. THESIS enables suppliers to report on key performance indicators for the most relevant environmental and social issues across the lifecycle of a product. Suppliers report on topics like waste, water usage and animal welfare through THESIS and can use the system to determine where they have gaps and how to focus their efforts.
Additional reporting examples
- Seafood: We ask seafood suppliers to report their efforts using the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Seafood Metrics System; seafood suppliers to Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. are currently using the system, and suppliers to international markets are starting to use the system.
- Textiles: As part of our sustainable textiles strategy, we launched a Textiles-Fiber Survey through our Walmart Sustainability Portal and asked all Walmart U.S. private brand suppliers of apparel and home textile products to report their total fiber volume as well as preferred cotton and recycled polyester fiber volumes through this survey to measure progress against our fiber sourcing goals. In 2020, nearly 90% of Walmart U.S. private-brand apparel and home net sales were from suppliers that participated.
- Pollinators: In addition to setting new sourcing requirements, we announced in 2021 that we are encouraging live-plant suppliers to label pollinator-friendly plants and encouraging fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore, or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3% of land they own, operate and/or invest in.
Resources & forums to share best practices
To promote best practices sharing, we provide resources and create forums for suppliers, merchants and subject matter experts. Recent examples include:
- Walmart Sustainability Hub: The Hub houses resources such as guidance on target setting, background information on Walmart sustainability strategies for key commodities and issues, our nature portal (which includes information about place-based sourcing opportunities), tools (e.g., Recycling Playbook), links to the Project Gigaton platform and key surveys and recordings of sessions.
- Project Gigaton “calculators”: These calculators are designed to help suppliers identify improvement opportunities and translate actions into impact on emissions or other variables (e.g., nature metrics).
- Sustainability Milestone Summit: At these annual events, we bring our suppliers and experts from nonprofits and academia together to discuss product supply chain sustainability, providing a platform to problem-solve and share best practices. In September 2020, Walmart hosted more than 5,000 people — including suppliers, NGOs and other key stakeholders — during the virtual sustainability milestone event.
- Tuna Summit: Walmart held a Tuna Summit in January 2020 where we engaged our Walmart U.S. merchants, their tuna suppliers and their supply chain stakeholders to discuss our shelf-stable tuna policy and our aspirations to accelerate seafood sustainability by sharing milestones, goals and challenges.
- Beef Summit: Walmart convened a Beef Summit in August 2020 that brought together our Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. merchants, their beef suppliers and beef industry stakeholders to share our fresh beef position and aspirations and to empower suppliers with tools and resources.
- Joint sustainability planning: Walmart invites top sustainability and business leaders from strategic suppliers to engage in joint sustainability planning sessions on an annual basis. We share experiences, ambitions and feedback with the goal of advancing sustainability initiatives together. These connections continue throughout the year, with dozens of meetings with suppliers on sustainability-related topics.
- Pre-initiative engagement: We meet with relevant suppliers before launching new sustainability initiatives to get their feedback and insights and seek out their collaboration. For example, before launching our recent pollinator commitments, we met with produce suppliers to understand what steps they were taking already and how a potential change in approach would impact their business. We also met with chemicals suppliers to share our point of view and to hear theirs.
Supporting collective action
Lasting change will only be possible through the collective actions of many, so we support multi-stakeholder initiatives that are relevant to our business and our nature goals and that will accelerate progress. Examples include:
- In an effort to work collaboratively to stop forest loss with other retailers, manufacturers and NGOs, Walmart joined 19 of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers as a member of the Consumer Good Forum’s Forest Positive Coalition. Through this effort, launched September 2020, we are part of a group of companies taking action to help reduce deforestation and forest degradation from key supply chains and drive transformative change across the industry. We participate in commodity working groups to engage in stakeholder consultations throughout the year to develop the commodity roadmaps.
- Walmart is a member of Business for Nature, a global coalition that brings together business and conservation organizations to call for governments to adopt policies to reverse nature loss in this decade. In 2020, we supported Business for Nature’s call to action to reverse nature loss by 2030, and our CEO was part of the public video campaign, which is also being used to recruit more signatories.
- Walmart is a founding member of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC). Over the last five years, the MRCC has helped implement sustainable agriculture practices on more than a quarter-million acres in the upper Mississippi River Basin. It brings together retailers, suppliers and conservation organizations to help farmers in the U.S. heartland adopt farming practices that can reduce GHG emissions, improve soil health and water quality, and lower costs.
- We are a member of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a U.S.-based collaboration building and promoting science-based tools and resources, system-wide collaboration and increased supply-chain transparency. Field to Market’s member organizations include farmers, agribusiness companies, brands, retailers, civil society, academia and public sector partners. Walmart leverages the Field to Market Fieldprint® Platform as part of Project Gigaton, giving members credit for positive actions.
- Since 2015, Walmart has been a member of The Seafood Task Force, an international, multi-stakeholder initiative to address forced labor and illegal fishing in the Thai seafood industry. We have been Board members since 2016 and participate in several working subgroups. The Seafood Task Force has developed a Code of Conduct, established traceability tools, worked with government and industry stakeholders to improve regulation and codes of conduct and championed fishery improvement projects and responsible recruitment. In FY2019, the Seafood Task Force developed the Vessel Auditable Standards which the tuna subgroup used as a tool to raise awareness with fishing vessel representatives in selected locations in FY2020. In FY2021, the Seafood Task Force developed additional tools that are available in different languages and are accessible for anyone to use to accelerate improvement in the industry.
- Walmart is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), and a Walmart representative serves on the SAC Board of Directors. Among SAC’s focus areas is standardizing value chain sustainability measurement by developing and scaling use of the Higg Index suite of tools. For example, the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) provides facility-level benchmarking across seven key environmental performance indicators, including energy use, emissions to air, chemical management, waste management and wastewater/effluent. Since the launch of Walmart’s Mill Sustainability Program in 2016, the percentage of net product sales in apparel and soft home categories sourced from suppliers with one or more textile mills that have completed Higg FEM assessment for Walmart U.S. has grown to over 82%.
- Walmart is also a member of Better Cotton Initiative, which is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. Together with its partners, BCI provides training on more sustainable farming practices to more than 2 million cotton farmers across 23 countries. In 2020, an estimated 19 billion gallons of water were saved, and 100,000 pounds of pesticides were avoided thanks to Walmart U.S. sourcing of Better Cotton.179
Scaling impact through systemic change
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation use philanthropy to complement and extend the work of our business to help preserve irreplaceable landscapes by supporting innovative approaches that can help address gaps in the way the system works today. For example, we invest in improvements in certifications and standards that can have a positive impact on nature, tools to improve transparency and traceability, and initiatives to build capacity to adopt practices that benefit nature. Below are selected examples of these investments. For more information, please see Walmart.org.
Certifications & standards
Credible and science-based certifications and standards play an important role because they can help to focus and align adoption of practices that help support sustainability, even across complex supply chains. Because of this role, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have supported the continued strengthening and scaling of standards, including:
- ISEAL Alliance: ISEAL works to increase the uptake of credible standards in critical regions. Sub-national governments are making strides in designing and implementing programs towards deforestation-free agriculture. With FY2021 Walmart Foundation funding, ISEAL will test, improve and disseminate its Good Practices guide for jurisdictional claims.
- FishChoice: Established in 2008, FishChoice creates open-source online tools that can help organizations implement sustainable sourcing commitments. FishChoice.com aims to educate, track and share information about sustainability efforts, and FisheryProgress.org serves as a one-stop shop for reliable information about the progress of global Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) to help companies track and reward progress. A grant made by the Walmart Foundation in FY2022 will support integrating social responsibility into FisheryProgress and FIPS and increasing accessibility and credibility of data shared on FisheryProgress.org.
Transparency & traceability
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation invest in efforts to increase traceability of commodities and transparency into social and environmental conditions in supply chains to inform decisions and increase accountability for impacts on nature.
- The Institute for Climate and Society (iCS): Through a grant to iCS and Society in FY2021, the Walmart Foundation contributed $2 million to assist in creating land-use maps, tracking deforestation, developing a reforestation methodology and working with authorities to prevent the destruction of forests. This MapBiomas program will help restore the natural ecosystems of Brazil and contribute to creating more sustainable and transparent supply chains.
- Cornell University: In early FY2022, the Walmart Foundation provided funding to Cornell Universitys Cornell Lab of Ornithology to allow Cornell to test the hypothesis that insect-eating birds are suitable indicators of pollinator communities. The science produced by the grant could make it possible to cost-effectively monitor pollinator communities, unlocking opportunities to improve conservation planning, farm practices and landscape management in the U.S.
- The Nature Conservancy (TNC): TNC uses science-based approaches that incorporate multi-stakeholder input into solutions in order to benefit nature and people. A Walmart Foundation grant made in FY2021 funds TNC to help advance transparency tools for vessels at sea through two key workstreams: (1) connecting satellite monitoring to electronic monitoring on vessels to surface overfishing and sustainability threats in partnership with Global Fishing Watch with research support from University of California (Santa Barbara) and (2) aiming to accelerate the scale of electronic monitoring on longline vessels in the Western and Central Pacific.
The Walmart Foundation supports initiatives to build capacity to improve practices in our focus areas of forests, fields and oceans. Increasingly, this involves supporting the development of place-based initiatives that aim to transform practices within an entire geographic area.
- Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Foundation: In 2018, the Walmart Foundation provided a two-year grant to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Foundation to establish a National Longline Tuna Fishery Improvement Project in Indonesia helping to build sustainable management capacity at a jurisdictional level and supporting those fisheries on a pathway to MSC certification.
- Conservation International (CI): Since 2018, CI has held the Secretariat for the Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods (CSL), an initiative focused on collective action to drive economic development, reduce poverty and improve natural resource management in the Indonesian provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. In 2019, the Walmart Foundation funded a workshop convening 130 key stakeholders in the region to develop a workplan, and in 2020, the Walmart Foundation continued its funding to help operationalize this workplan to create conditions for long-term success.
- The Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV): ICV has been operating in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso for 29 years with the mission of building shared solutions for the sustainable use of land and natural resources. ICV facilitated the development of Mato Grosso’s Produce, Conserve and Include strategy. With FY2021 Walmart Foundation funding, ICV will promote and implement a regional model for socioeconomic inclusion of family farming.
- The Nature Conservancy (TNC): With FY2021 Walmart Foundation funding, TNC will implement the Produce, Conserve and Include strategy in the Araguaia Valley of Brazil, an area encompassing 900,000 hectares in east Mato Grosso state. Successful implementation will create the incentives and infrastructure necessary for increased agricultural productivity, socioeconomic inclusion and reduced deforestation.
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF): In FY2021, the Walmart Foundation provided a grant WWF for a new collaboration with cattle ranchers across the Northern Great Plains. The project will help fight the climate crisis by improving the health of one million acres of grasslands, increasing underground carbon storage, filtering clean water and providing habitat for wildlife. WWF will assist ranchers in developing and implementing whole ranch management plans designed to achieve ecological and economic outcomes.
- Soil Health Institute (SHI): With a FY2021 Walmart Foundation grant, SHI will develop soil health targets and carbon targets for agricultural soils in three Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA) in Arkansas and Texas. These targets will help conservation planners and agricultural retailers provide locally tailored recommendations to farmers on how to manage their land for specific production systems in order to improve the carbon capacity and health of their soil and production systems.
- Conservation International (CI): A Walmart Foundation grant in FY2019 supported CI to pilot the Social Responsibility Assessment Tool and to establish a jurisdictional approach in the Cook Islands through collaborating with the government, the seafood industry and traditional leadership groups to develop and apply rigorous standards of environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic performance, which all tuna vessels operating within the Cook Island jurisdiction must meet.
- Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Foundation: The Walmart Foundation in FY2019 supported the SFP Foundation to provide science-based analysis of actions that industry can take to improve transparency and reduce the bycatch of endangered, threatened and protected species. The grant also supported the implementation of the national longline tuna Fishery Improvement Project in Indonesia.
- Environmental challenges in supply chains are complex and are often the result of systemic issues including deeply entrenched economic practices and inconsistent government regulation and enforcement across countries in which products are made. These factors make it challenging for any single organization to have an impact.
- Sustainable product aspirations are dependent on the maturity, rigor, and efficacy of third-party standards and initiatives, and there are limits to the efficacy of tools used to monitor compliance with expectations.
- The success of sustainable product programs is dependent on suppliers’ capacity and willingness to meet high standards, as well as their performance and ability to scale practices across their supply chains. Innovation in manufacturing, agriculture and other product production technologies is necessary.
- Nature-related issues in supply chains are often upstream and beyond the reach of traditional retailer oversight and monitoring tools. Lack of reliable data on source/origin of certain commodities and product ingredients and the way they are produced—as well as the blending and commoditization of product inputs and ingredients—complicates matters. The use of technology improving transparency and traceability (e.g., blockchain, vessel monitoring) can help, but adoption takes time and further innovation is necessary to meet these challenges.
- The breadth of Walmart's global product offerings and dispersed geographical reach of supply chains can present challenges for supplier engagement and nature-related risk identification and mitigation. Moreover, certain products can only be obtained from specific regions of the world, limiting options for alternative sources.
- Walmart’s ability to scale more sustainable options is dependent on customer preferences and demand (which can depend on the cost and convenience of such options) and the availability and cost of preferred products, ingredients, commodities, and inputs. Growth in and/or changes in our business can challenge our ability to meet customer demands consistent with our aspirations.
- The public policy environment in certain countries/regions does not support (and may undermine) more sustainable production at scale and at reasonable cost.
- Pandemics, weather-related events, and political/social unrest can create supply/demand volatility and interrupt supply chains.
- Conflict Minerals Policy
- Environmental Sustainability Statement
- Forests Policy
- Sustainable Chemistry Commitment
- Seafood Policy
- Walmart Sustainability Hub
- Product supply chains: Sustainability overview
- Climate change
- People in supply chains
- Animal welfare
- Standards for Suppliers
- Walmart US. Pollinator Health Position