The footprint of Walmart’s global supply chain is many times larger than its operational footprint, and so it represents a much more significant opportunity to reduce emissions. In fact, the ambitious goal announced yesterday represents one and a half times the company’s estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years and is the equivalent of taking more than 3.8 million cars off the road for a year.
Walmart collaborated with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop this innovative approach which looks at the supply chain on a global scale. After all, as the EDF website says:
Walmart’s supply chain is where the action is. It’s the biggest possible lever that Walmart could bring to the table. Walmart will work with suppliers to reduce their emissions – which they otherwise might not do – resulting in positive ripple effects around the globe.
This new program to reduce GHGs has three main components:
- Selection — Walmart will focus on the product categories with the highest embedded carbon. This is defined as the amount of life cycle GHG emissions per unit multiplied by the amount the company sells. To find the embedded carbon, the Applied Sustainability Center (ASC) reviewed the GHG emissions associated with all Walmart product categories. This approach ensures the project team focuses on the categories that have the greatest opportunity for reductions. Reductions can come from any part of a product’s life cycle.
- Action — For a project to be included as part of this goal, it must reduce GHGs from a product in either the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, customer use or end-of-life disposal. Walmart must demonstrate it had direct influence on the reduction and show how that reduction would not have occurred without Walmart’s participation.
- Assessment — Suppliers and Walmart will jointly account for the reductions. ClearCarbon will perform a quality assurance review of those claims to ensure methodology, completeness and calculations are correct. When the claims meet the quality assurance check, PricewaterhouseCoopers will assess under consulting standards whether the defined procedures were followed consistently to quantify the reduction claim.
More information on Walmart’s program to reduce GHG emissions is available at walmartstores.com/greenhousegas.