Walmart was started upon a simple idea: to bring affordable products to people in small towns. Nearly 53 years later, that’s still our focus, but we’ve expanded it to a lot more places – 27 countries around the world.
As we’ve grown, we’ve taken on another important mission: using our scale and capabilities to help not just customers, but society as a whole. This week, we released our eighth annual Global Responsibility Report, which covers specific ways we’ve done this over the past year. But what does that really mean in each region where we operate? Here’s a quick look at how we’ve made a difference across the globe.
Since 2011, Massmart’s Builders Warehouse has worked with Ripples for Good to help maintain 205 schools and Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers around South Africa. Makro provided funding to HOPE Worldwide to help support 41 ECD centers in disadvantaged communities. In 2014, the project directly benefited 3,274 children younger than 5.
At Walmart Argentina, we recently imported lighting devices that are 38% more energy-efficient than the technology available in our market. Prior to 2014, importation restrictions in Argentina made this impossible.
Since 2010, Walmart Institute (Walmart Brazil’s charitable foundation) has supported the Social School of Retail, committed to providing Brazilians ages 17-29 with professional training needed to work in the retail industry. Implemented in seven Brazilian states, the program has reached nearly 6,000 youth to date. Walmart Institute recently began collaborating with the Brazilian government to incorporate this same training into the high school curriculum. In 2014, 160 teachers were trained, impacting about 66,000 high school students.
The expanded rollout of our Organics Recycling Program has contributed to a 25% increase in total tonnage of organic waste diverted from landfills. We also increased food donations by 64% over 2013 and redirected an additional 142,552 kilograms of products to people in need.
Through reverse logistics, we increased the total weight of materials collected for recycling in Central America by 10.8% in 2014, for a total of 21,388 metric tons. The categories of recyclable materials being collected have grown to include cardboard, paper, stretch film, plastic bags, rigid and PET plastics, metals, aluminum, pallets, glass, vegetable oil and electronics.
In 2013, Walmart Chile collaborated with four multi-national organizations to create a network of five recycling points for the metropolitan region. From November 2013 to December 2014, these recycling points collected 166,328 kilograms of waste that was diverted from landfills.
Smallholder apple farmers in China face many production problems, including low productivity and poor fruit quality due to wide use of seedling rootstocks, overuse of fertilizers and rising labor costs. Through a program made possible by a Walmart Foundation grant to Cornell University and the University of California, Davis, 200,000 Chinese apple growers are learning sustainable agricultural practices from a partnership with the provincial extension system and agricultural universities in both Shandong and Shaanxi Provinces. To date, 149,233 Chinese apple farmers have received training through the program, which iis designed to enable trainees to improve yield, fruit quality and income on their family orchards while reducing the environmental impact of apple farming in China.
By the end of 2014, Walmart’s Women in Factories Training Program had offered life and work skills guidance to 48,729 women, 2,546 of whom completed advanced training. This program has been implemented in 82 factories in Bangladesh, China, El Salvador, Honduras and India. Avani Bhadra is one participant from India who began pursuing higher education as a result of the program; you can read more of her story here.
Since 2009, Walmart Japan has donated food from our stores to Second Harvest, the oldest food bank in the country. In 2014 alone, we donated more than 100,000 food items and expanded the program to 81 participating stores. We plan to grow the program to more than 130 stores in the greater Tokyo area by the end of 2016.
Walmart Mexico, one of our largest operations, is a leader in water stewardship in our company and has water initiatives in operation and under development in multiple locations. In 2014, we increased our number of on-site water treatment plants to 665. Those plants treat more than 2.5 million cubic meters of wastewater, 34% of which was reused for irrigation.
To encourage the reuse of shopping bags, in 2014 Scottish Parliament began requiring all retailers to charge customers a fee for each new, single-use bag they receive. The net proceeds of the charge, which Asda anticipates will generate approximately $1,044,783 per year, are to be donated to good causes. Asda will allocate half of its bag proceeds for the Social Investment Scotland organization, which makes investment capital available for new social enterprises, meeting a gap in the current market for smaller loans and helping to drive growth, create jobs and regenerate communities for the long term. Customers and colleagues will have the opportunity to nominate projects and good causes in their local community that would benefit from Asda Community Capital grants. To ensure the grants are as locally relevant as possible, regional selection panels of Asda colleagues will vote on the projects to benefit.
To accelerate the development of Walmart U.S. associates, we announced a $1 billion+ investment in higher wages, up-skilling and scheduling enhancements for hourly workers. In addition, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced more than $100 million in grants to improve the mobility of workers across the retail and related-sector industries.