The economy of Walmart is larger than over 150 economies of various small countries around the world. Deemed ‘World-Mart’ by Professor Peter Jacques at the University of Central Florida, “Wally World” is by far the world’s largest corporation. The company strategically places networks of stores in small towns and serve hundreds of millions of customers each day. They have been accused of poor working terms for its employees, driving local businesses out of business, and of globalizing well, the entire globe with a corporate monoculture. In fact, in my small, Mennonite hometown of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania customers have the option of parking their car or parking their horse and buggy in designated, buggy parking spots. How then can a company with such a negative public image claim ‘sustainability?’ One small step at a time.
But keep in mind, Walmart wears the same shoe size as Goliath: its footprint is huge.
Through accountability from the Sustainability Index, Walmart recently announced its commitment to dramatically reduce chemicals and fertilizers in its product platform and its supply chain. As one of the largest grocery suppliers in the world, fertilizer is responsible for half—yes 50%—of Walmart’s carbon footprint. By committing to alternative fertilizers with just 15 of its agricultural suppliers, Walmart will avoid over seven million metric tons of greenhouse gases. According to their assessment they have the potential to reduce fertilizer use on 14 million acres of farmland in the U.S. by 2020, impacting over 30% of North America’s agricultural industry. This amount of impact, if obtained, will be incomparable.
Eventually, this multi-national conglomerate plans to source only from companies affiliated with the Sustainability Index. Partnerships with the dairy industry are already well under way. For example, Walmart research teams are targeting main issues among its dairy suppliers, helping them to identify key environmental issues.
Walmart has also taken responsibility for their use of plastics and non-renewable packaging. Through work with cities and government agencies, Walmart is increasing access to local recycling units. Towns that once lacked access to recycling programs will now have them because of Walmart’s investments. And Walmart and Sam’s Club will launch their smart phone trade-in program with the hopes of keeping thousands of old phones out of landfills.
These are big small steps, indeed.
- See more at: http://www.justmeans.com/blogs/wal-mart-takes-another-green-step-forward#sthash.2qXmcHaa.dpuf