Walmart suppliers are three-quarters of the way toward meeting the retailer’s goal of reducing greenhouse emissions from its value chain, according to ESG highlights the retail giant released late last week and a climate progress update from late May.
Suppliers have cumulatively cut or avoided more than 750 million metric tons of emissions since launching Project Gigaton in 2017, Walmart Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin said in a letter to stakeholders.
The initiative calls for suppliers to reduce, avoid or sequester 1 billion metric tons of emissions in its supply chain by 2030. Hitting the 75% threshold this year puts the retailer ahead of pace.
To date, more than 5,200 suppliers have joined the effort, with participation in Project Gigaton representing around 75% of the retailer’s sales.
“Over the past six years, we have expanded and deepened our work by adding new tools, resources, and other opportunities for suppliers to accelerate engagement and impact,” Walmart said in its ESG update.
The company pointed to six “pillars” for suppliers to focus on in reducing their footprints: Energy use, packaging, transportation, waste, product use and design, and nature. The latter umbrella category covers initiatives such as place-based sourcing.
Of those categories, efforts around energy led the way in reducing and avoiding carbon, followed by waste, and product use and design, according to Walmart’s climate update from May.
Among other tools for suppliers, Walmart created a sustainable supply chain finance program for its vendors working with HSBC Bank and the nonprofit CDP. The program, launched in 2021, provides early payments for suppliers who set science-based targets through Project Gigaton or have achieved certain score thresholds from CDP.
Walmart’s Project Gigaton is related but falls outside its strict counting of Scope 3 emissions, which includes its supply chain footprint. The company reported that its most recent estimates of its Scope 3 were between 171 million metric tons and 243 million metric tons, using various methods.
The company noted in its climate update that it is “updating our Scope 3 emissions estimates and target to further enhance comprehensiveness, quality, and actionability.”