Bentonville, Ark. - Wal-Mart is launching an ambitious program to cut 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015.
The world's largest retailer said it will work with suppliers and environmental experts to reduce the GHG emissions of the products it sells by examining every stage in their life cycle, from raw materials sourcing, manufacturing and transportation, to customer use and end-of-life disposal.
If successful, the decrease in emissions would be equivalent to removing more than 3.8 million cars from the road for a year, the company said.
"Energy efficiency and carbon reduction are central issues in the world today," said Wal-Mart president/CEO Mike Duke. "We've been working to make a difference in these areas, both in our own footprint and our supply chain. We know that we have an opportunity to do more and the capacity to do more."
He said the effort will also lower costs for Wal-Mart and its suppliers through reduced energy use.
The company is working with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), PricewaterhouseCoopers, ClearCarbon, and the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Applied Sustainability Center (ASC) at the University of Arkansas to develop the approach, which addresses the supply chain on a global scale. Together the team will identify projects, quantify reductions, engage suppliers and ensure proper procedures are followed for each GHG reduction claim, Wal-Mart said.
"Today the world's largest company begins a global race for carbon pollution cuts," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. "Wal-Mart's bold move will help companies identify steps to slash pollution and costs. As this story unfolds, it will transform a vast supply chain here at home, and around the world."
The announcement was made by Duke and Krupp via a live Webcast this morning.
The project supports Wal-Mart's ultimate sustainability goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, creating zero waste, and selling products that sustain people and the environment, the company said.