Walmart Report Touts Progress on Emissions Goals

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Walmart Inc. of Bentonville on Wednesday released its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance Report.

The report covers the company’s efforts in the previous fiscal year, which ended Jan. 31. Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin said the COVID-19 pandemic is not mentioned in the report because it didn’t officially begin until weeks after the fiscal year ended, but the pandemic and ongoing Black Lives Matter movement prove “the need for collective, transformative action on the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues.”

The ESG report focuses on Walmart’s effort in what McLaughlin said was using business practices to address societal issues in a value-producing way. 

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote about the company’s goals in an accompanying letter.

“There’s been a lot of talk recently about the purpose of business in society,” McMillon wrote. “While there’s much left to debate, we know this for certain: It’s time for businesses to take the lead working together and with government and NGOs on serious issues like workforce opportunity, racial equity, climate, and sustainable, responsible supply chains. Consumers are keeping score. They no longer look the other way, and we are committed to do right by our communities.”

Among the achievements Walmart highlighted in the report were: using renewable energy sources for 29% of its needs with a goal of reaching 50% by 2025; diverting 80% of its waste from landfills and incinerators with a goal of zero waste by 2025; and the elimination of 230 million metric tons of emissions since 2017 with the goal of 1 billion metric tons eliminated by 2030.

Walmart also said it had increased wages and benefits for its employees during the last five years and given out $130 million in grants to groups that help workers get training and advancement skills.