White House Energy Event, Remarks by Bill Simon

Mountain View, Calif.

By Bill Simon, President & CEO, Walmart U.S.

May 09, 2014

Mountain View, Calif.

Thank you all for being here this morning. I’m Bill Simon, President and CEO of Walmart US. 

We are truly honored to be joined by President Obama today. We believe this is the first time a sitting president has visited our stores. And we are proud to host the President and to hear his vision for a clean energy future – with good American jobs. 

I know we’re here because of the energy features of this store – but first, I want to thank and appreciate the more than 300 associates who make it run. Our associates are working hard every day to serve our customers – bringing customers the products they want and need at prices they can afford. And our associates are building better lives for themselves and their families. I’m so proud of all of you. Thank you. 

The President is actually the second member of his family to visit us recently. The First Lady has been side-by-side with us in taking on several big initiatives that matter to our customers and communities. 

Walmart has pledged to offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first year off active duty. And the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative has been a fantastic partner in building momentum throughout the business community. Together, we can offer veterans a wider range of opportunities, across different industries and occupations. 

We have also worked with the First Lady through her Let’s Move campaign. We’re making the food we sell healthier and healthier foods more affordable and accessible. We believe customers shouldn’t have to choose between food that is good for them and food they can afford. 

Today, we’re here to make progress on another big issue – and that’s energy. For the first time in a generation, the availability of domestic energy is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage in the US. 

Walmart has a two-part strategy on energy. First, we’re innovating and investing in energy efficiency in our buildings and truck fleet, so we can operate as efficiently as possible. And, then, we’re working to generate the energy we need from renewable sources. 

We have hundreds of renewable energy projects. We have solar, not just in California, but in Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado, Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, and more. We also have fuel cells that run on bio-gas, micro-wind projects, and even our own 1 megawatt wind turbine. 

Today, we’re taking the next step in this journey. Walmart is already the leading on-site solar generator in the US. Now, we’re committing to double the number of solar projects at our stores, Sam’s Clubs and Distribution Centers in the United States by  2020.

I’m especially proud that the solar industry is creating jobs right here in America and that these projects will be installed by American workers. We’ve seen over and over that – because of our size and scale – when Walmart commits to something, it gives other companies the certainty to invest. And we expect a ripple effect on jobs from this effort. 

So this commitment will create jobs, reduce our impact on the environment, and save us money. It’s right for our country, for our planet, and for our bottom line. 

You see, for us, renewable energy is not a political football; it’s a business decision. The renewable energy we buy meets or beats prices from the grid. And with our 2020 energy goals, we anticipate savings of over $1 billion per year on our energy bill.

The best news is that the more solar we install, the more the price drops for everyone. With our scale, we’re helping to lower the cost of energy in America. 

So on behalf of 1.3 million Walmart associates, we appreciate the President being here, and we look forward to being part of the solution as we take on the big challenges facing our country.