3 Ways We’re Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Your Favorite Textiles

Field of cotton

April 10, 2019
By Deanah Baker, Senior Vice President, U.S. Apparel

We all have that one outfit that helps us express ourselves so we can look and feel our best. We make the same choices about which bedding, towels or accent rugs will bring comfort and style to our homes. But we don’t always realize how many raw materials and resources it takes to make our favorite textile products.

With the global population expected to rise, demand for things like apparel, towels and other fabric products will continue to increase as our resources become scarcer. That’s why Walmart is working with suppliers to improve sustainability across the textile value chain.

Informed by new research from The Sustainability Consortium and other resources, we’ve set our primary focus on three new textile sustainability goals:

Sourcing Fibers Sustainably

Cotton and polyester are essential fibers used in many of our private brand apparel and home textile products. Walmart U.S. stores are committing to work with suppliers to source 100% more sustainable cotton – such as cotton that is U.S.-grown, organic, or from other third-party certified sources – and 50% recycled polyester fibers for our private brand textiles by 2025.

Using Chemicals Responsibly

Chemistry is essential to the production of manufactured products, including the apparel, footwear, and soft home textiles that our customers purchase every day. Walmart endeavors to work with suppliers to our U.S. stores to reduce the discharge of priority chemicals from the manufacturing process by 2025.

We’re also encouraging apparel, footwear and soft home textile suppliers to lead in manufacturing their products with sustainable chemistry – and leverage third-party certifications that access and recognize leadership, such as OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

Reducing Impact in Manufacturing

In 2016, Walmart launched a Mill Sustainability Program to support suppliers and their mill partners in improving their manufacturing practices to help reduce environmental impact. Momentum in this program has only grown, and participation is expanding. Walmart will continue working with suppliers to our U.S. stores to increase use of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM). We aim for Walmart U.S. stores, by 2022, to source only from suppliers working with textile mills that use the Higg Index FEM to measure and help improve their environmental performance.

Together with suppliers, NGOs and industry stakeholders, sustainable practices can be strengthened in the textile value chain. We know we can meet - or even exceed - these goals to deliver products that are affordable and produced in a way that’s more sustainable for people and the planet.