Commercial, GHG Emissions  -  April 19, 2017

Wal-Mart's 'Project Gigaton' targets supplier emissions

Wal-Mart President and CEO Doug McMillon discusses the company's 'Project Gigaton' program in Bentonville, Ark. 

Expanding on its climate-related goals, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on April 19 announced the launch of a new initiative to engage its suppliers in targeting an elimination of 1 gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from operations and supply chains. 

Dubbed "Project Gigaton," the initiative will provide an emissions reduction toolkit to help Wal-Mart's broad network of suppliers commit to or establish emissions reductions projects focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials and use of products. In a news release, the retail giant said it collaborated with NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund as strategic contributors to create the toolkit, in which Wal-Mart highlights the business case for why suppliers should consider signing on to Project Gigaton.

The company says its overarching goal is to approach environmental issues "in ways that help communities while also strengthening business." Wal-Mart said it investments in solar energy, for example, have helped support jobs for American solar companies; and its efforts to double the efficiency of its U.S. fleet from 2005 to 2015 has saved the company close to $1 billion. 

"We are proud of the improvements we've made in reducing our own emissions, but we aim to do more. That's why we're working with our suppliers and others on Project Gigaton," Wal-Mart's Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer, said in a statement.

Wal-Mart itself recently became the first retailer with a verified science-based target emissions-reduction plan. The company aims to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18% by 2025. The retailer will also work to reduce CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions from upstream and downstream Scope 3 sources by one billion tons (a gigaton) between 2015 and 2030.

Wal-Mart has identified energy — which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency and fleet efficiency — agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation, and product use and design as the goal areas in which to focus their Scope 3 climate efforts. Participating suppliers are encouraged to focus their commitment in one or more of these goal areas. 

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