Healthy societies, resilient economies and thriving businesses rely on nature. The world has pushed its natural resources to the point of crisis, resulting in the degradation and loss of critical landscapes and the eradication of many species of plants and animals. Urgent, sustained action is needed to reverse nature loss and emissions before we reach a tipping point from which we will not recover. We are focused on making food and product supply chains more regenerative, working in harmony with nature to protect, restore and sustainably use our natural resources.
Along with the Walmart Foundation, 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. We’ll focus on critical landscapes that produce food and other consumer products. And we’ll do this work by aiming to improve how products are sourced, promote the adoption of nature-friendly policies and certifications, continue supporting preservation efforts and invest in place-based partnerships that conserve critical landscapes while enabling local economic growth.
Diverse habitats are essential not only to the health of natural systems but also for human recreation and livelihoods.
Walmart recognizes the important role of healthy forests for society, as well as for our business. As the global population increases, we believe changes to sourcing and production of products are necessary in order to continue to meet the expectations of our customers and to help preserve forests as a resource.
We focus on four key commodities that, according to the World Economic Forum, are responsible for the majority of global deforestation in tropical forests: palm oil, pulp and paper, beef and soy.
As part of our nature commitment, our forest goals focus on:
- sourcing 100%-verified deforestation-free beef (by 2022) and soy (by 2023) from critical landscapes in South America;
- expanding efforts in sourcing sustainable palm oil by asking our private brand suppliers to move from sourcing Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Mass Balance-certified palm oil to segregated, and working with our national brand suppliers to source certified palm oil;
- continuing efforts to source private brand pulp and paper (adding timber) from suppliers using Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification or Sustainable Forestry Initiative certifications, or recycled content; and
- creating pathways through our Project Gigaton initiative for suppliers to report progress on our restoration efforts in areas most prone to deforestation.
Although we are focused on these four commodities, we recognize that additional production types also contribute to deforestation such as other food types, lumber and forest-based fabrics. We encourage our suppliers of these types of products to work to source products produced with zero net deforestation as well. We ask suppliers to avoid ancient and endangered forests, to encourage conservation solutions, and to increase recycled content.
Agricultural practices have economic and environmental impacts for farmers, ranchers and buyers of their products.
The adoption of best-in-class agricultural practices, including precision agriculture and feed optimization, can help reduce farmer input costs, improve water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Walmart is a founding member of the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC), which brings together retailers, suppliers and conservation organizations to help farmers in the U.S. heartland adopt farming practices that can reduce greenhouse emissions, improve soil health and water quality and lower costs.
In 2021 Walmart and Sam's Club released our Row Crop Position Statement at our Sustainable Row Crop Summit, outlining farming and reporting best practices for our row crop suppliers. We also announced new 2030 goals with MRCC that reflect our shared ambition for a more regenerative agriculture system, including ensuring that 30 million acres in the Midwest employ practices that support improved outcomes for soil health, greenhouse gases, water quality and use, biodiversity and farmer livelihoods.
Since 2005, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation reports that this program has conserved more than 1.8 million acres of land.
Along with the Walmart Foundation, we have set a goal to help protect, manage or restore one million square miles of ocean by 2030. Walmart is working with others to accelerate the sustainability of our own assortment as well as the industry as a whole, through multiple actions including updating our sourcing policies, investing in data/insights about issues in the value chain, building capacity among fisheries, advocating for law enforcement with government and other public bodies, and promoting responsible recruitment practices.
Our philanthropic and business sustainability strategies focus on helping to promote healthier fisheries and ocean ecosystems through increased use of certifications, support for fishery improvement projects and the strengthening of monitoring systems. For example, Walmart is moving to source its U.S. stores Great Value canned tuna as Marine Stewardship Council-certified or, based on supplier reports, from a time-bound Fishery Improvement Project actively working toward certification.
Walmart has prioritized efforts to enhance the sustainability of products and product supply chains, with a focus on environmental and social issues such as: climate, waste and natural capital; working to combat forced labor while promoting inclusive economic opportunity for people who work in supply chains; and consumer access to affordable, safer and healthier products. In 2016, we announced a goal to more sustainably source at least 20 key commodities by 2025, primarily within the following product categories: Produce, Row Crops, Specialty Crops, Seafood, Meat and Dairy, Packaged Food, Consumables and Textiles.
In 2017, we made a commitment to sustainably source the private brand coffee found in Walmart stores in the U.S. by 2020. In September 2019, we met that commitment and all coffee sourced for Walmart U.S. private brands continues to be certified as sustainable through third-party groups Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ or UTZ.
As of July 2020, all Great Value canned tuna sold in Walmart U.S. is sourced as either Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified or, based on supplier reports, from a time-bound Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) actively working toward certification. Nearly ~99% of Walmart U.S. stores’ and Sam’s Clubs’ U.S. fresh and frozen seafood was sourced in accordance with our sustainable seafood policy, as reported by suppliers.
Also, in 2020 we announced that we are strengthening our sustainable sourcing requirements for products that contain paper and pulp (excluding wood pencils) sold in Stationery departments across Walmart’s U.S. stores. Walmart requires these products be made from either 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.
As of July 2022, 100% of Walmart U.S. private brand black and green tea bags and instant ice teas are certified sustainable through the Rainforest Alliance. This includes our 15 private brand tea items, including all black and green tea bags and instant iced teas, under the Great Value brand.