Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is working towards a new greenhouse gas emissions goal. During a webcast that was broadcast live on TreeHugger.com, Walmart CEO Mike Duke announced that the company plans to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions across the lifecycle of the products they sell by 2015.
This is obviously an aggressive goal. According to Duke, this is equivalent to removing 3.8 million vehicles from the roads each year. The 20 million metric tons represents approximately 1.5 times the expected carbon growth of the company during the same time period.
In order to achieve this goal, Walmart will be working with its more than 100,000 suppliers to reduce the company’s carbon footprint starting at the sourcing of raw materials and ending with the way in which Walmart customers use and dispose of the products purchased at their stores, worldwide.
When a company the size of Walmart focuses on reducing their carbon footprint, other companies will stand up and take notice. However, this announcement does not come without controversy.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is great, but some are asking about Walmart’s human rights records. What about their labor practices here in the United States as well as abroad?
According to Green America, “Due to low wages and negligible benefits, thousands of Wal-Mart employees are dependent on public assistance to meet their basic needs, and American taxpayers eventually subsidize Wal-Mart's low prices.”
So while this aggressive greenhouse gas reduction role is a step in the right direction, many are asking if Walmart is doing enough to promote change within their organization.