Walmart’s 2020 Environmental, Social & Governance efforts

Local News

ESG report is a snapshot of the retailer's approach to certain issues

Walmart carts are seen outside of a store as the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ estimates on February 18, 2020 in Miami, Florida.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Six weeks before the pandemic, Walmart completed its 2020 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report. The timeline covers the fiscal year that ended on January 31, 2020.

The ESG goal is to go beyond mitigating business risk. The global omni-channel retailer addresses societal issues via business initiatives and in turn, they say that creates a positive outcome for the company’s stakeholders.

Walmart addresses the importance of making sure that stakeholders “separate signal from noise in assessing ESG performance,” the report states.

ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE

Reducing emissions has been a long-time goal by the retailer. But it doesn’t end there. The report states the importance of collaborating with suppliers, non-governmental organizations and others to have a sustainability program that includes eliminating waste and fostering circularity of packaging and other materials, and keeping natural resources along the “value chain” and dedication of its environmental effort.

The company’s goal is to power 50% of its operations with renewable energy by 2025. An estimated 80% of unsold products and packaging were diverted from landfills and incineration globally. The overall goal is to have “zero waste” in its own operations by 2025.

Walmart calls it “natural capital.” That’s where they’ve worked with suppliers, such as private brand coffee, that is certified as 100% sustainable as of September 2019.

SOCIAL CHANGES

The report addresses social challenges from customers to associates to suppliers. Wage increases were offered for retail associates, expanded benefits, and associate training so they may gain advancement skills. One example is a “Live Better U,” this is a way for associates to get a college degree for a $1 a day. Diversity in leadership increased by a couple of points — from 33% to 35% — for management of color. Officers of color increased from 215 to 24%. There was also an increase of women in management roles.

ESG 2020 Report. Walmart web page photo.

Walmart’s goal is to bring positive change in retail product supply chains. As an example, FY 2020, Walmart and Sam’e Club sourced nearly $12 billion in good from about 2,900 diverse suppliers in the U.S., according to the report.

GOVERNANCE FOR LONG-TERM VALUE

The Board of Directors has adopted a set of Corporate Governance Guidelines. This will be a flexible framework the Board can use for its responsibilities.

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