On Monday, Walmart released its 2012 Global Responsibility Report (GRR). The 2012 report covers sustainability issues at the retail giant during fiscal year 2011, which began on February 1, 2011 and ended on January 30, 2012. Walmart is a large company with a strong global presence and that means that it has a massive, information-filled GRR report, in this case, over 120 pages of data.
While the entire report is worth reading, Walmart has created a top 10 list of achievements that highlights the most important sustainability steps that the company took in the last year.
Two of the top 10 achievements stand out above the rest, at least in my opinion, including the number one achievement from 2011 – an 80 percent reduction in waste. United States-based Walmart stores reduced their landfill waste by 80 percent. Walmart is also working on reducing its landfill waste in other countries with both China and Brazil reporting a 52 percent waste diversion rate.
Another highlight from the past year was Walmart’s use of 1.1 billion kWh of renewable energy. Walmart currently has 180 renewable energy projects in operation or in development and as new projects go live, this figure will grow. Ultimately Walmart plans to use renewable energy to meet 100 percent of its energy needs.
The release of Walmart’s Great for You icon, the company’s response to natural disasters in the United States and abroad, and the growing global direct farm program were also included in the GRR top 10 list.
Walmart’s commitment to its ever-expanding sustainability program is not only good for the Earth; it is also good for business. During a Wednesday morning webcast, Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke said, “We’ve done all of this because it is the right thing to do for the generations that will follow us. But sustainability is also the right thing to do for our business. Every time we cut back on packaging or fuel or electricity, we save money. Every penny we save adds up for our customers, our shareholders and our future.”
As more companies realize that going green, or at least adopting more eco-friendly initiatives, is good for business then sustainability-minded business practices may become the norm and not the exception.