Wal-Mart promises to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2015

Wal-Mart said reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would offset anticipated growth in its carbon footprint over the same period.
Wal-Mart said reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would offset anticipated growth in its carbon footprint over the same period. (George Frey/bloomberg News)

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By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 26, 2010

Wal-Mart vowed on Thursday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million metric tons across its vast network of suppliers and stores by 2015, part of the retailer's ongoing efforts to become more environmentally friendly.

Wal-Mart said the reductions would more than offset the anticipated growth in its carbon footprint over the same period and was equivalent to taking 3.8 million cars off the road for a year. The cuts would be made throughout its supply chain, from manufacturing to transportation to the sales floor.

"We will be efficient," Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke said in a news conference Thursday. "We will be the leader in retailing, because we will be the first to look at the whole supply chain."

The announcement was the latest initiative in the retailer's quest to transform itself into a more sustainable company. When Wal-Mart promised five years ago to create zero waste, use only renewable energy and sell more environmentally friendly products, the call to action rippled across its 8,400 stores worldwide and more than 100,000 suppliers. Company executives said that they hoped this would have a similar effect.

"I think this is real leadership," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization that worked with Wal-Mart on the project. "Wal-Mart is looking at the big picture."

Wal-Mart said it would initially focus on several hundred suppliers and products with the highest carbon footprints. Matt Kistler, senior vice president of sustainability, said that includes reducing transportation emissions and waste for fresh foods and could mean developing new clothing materials that require less energy to clean. The company also announced changes to DVD packages that used less plastic and made them weigh less.


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