Walmart formally launched its Project Gigaton on April 19 – an initiative under which the discount retailer will provide an emissions reduction toolkit to a broad network of suppliers, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials, and use of products, with the goal of reducing carbon by 1 gigaton (1 billion tons) by 2030.
In taking this step, Walmart claims to be the first retailer with a verified science-based target emissions-reduction plan.
First, the company aims to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18 percent by 2025 – defined as:
- Scope 1: These are emissions that arise directly from sources that are owned or controlled by the supplier.
- Scope 2: These are the emissions generated by purchased electricity consumed by the supplier.
Second, the retailer will work to reduce CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions from upstream and downstream Scope 3 sources by a gigaton between 2015 and 2030.
- Scope 3: These are emissions created by the activities of a supplier, but are generated by sources not owned or controlled by the organization.
Walmart has identified energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation, and product use and design as the goal areas in which to focus its Scope 3 climate efforts. Participating suppliers have been encouraged to focus their commitment in one or more of these goal areas.
“We are proud of the improvements we’ve made in reducing our own emissions, but we aim to do more,” said Walmart Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin. “That’s why we’re working with our suppliers and others on Project Gigaton.”
To help suppliers make commitments to emission reduction, or to establish emission reduction projects, Walmart collaborated with NGOs, such as the World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund, to create an emissions reduction toolkit. In this toolkit, Walmart highlights the business case for signing on to Project Gigaton.
“Supply chains are the new frontier of sustainability. The journey products take from source to shelf will collectively shape our planet’s future,” said Carter Roberts, CEO, World Wildlife Fund. “Project Gigaton is a testament to the transformative impact that leaders of industry can have on our greatest common challenges. As more companies follow in the footsteps of Walmart and their suppliers, we can achieve the critical mass needed to address climate change. Today’s commitment represents an important step toward a safer and more prosperous future.”
“A challenge like Project Gigaton will catalyze leadership and innovative solutions around the globe,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “Forward-looking companies like Walmart, and the suppliers that will join them, know that our economy and our planet can—and must—thrive together. Consumers deserve both, and these businesses are leading the way. EDF looks forward to helping them along this journey.”
Project Gigaton is part of a series of Walmart sustainability initiatives, focused on addressing social and environmental issues in ways that help communities while also strengthening business. Walmart is now one of America’s leading commercial solar and on-site renewable energy users and gets about 25 percent of its global energy from renewable sources.