Being a blogger sometimes gives you some very unusual opportunities. Like standing up on stage in front of the CEOs of Walmart, Pepsi, Cargill, Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, Kellog and more at the Walmart Sustainability Expo along with Denise (Wholesome Mommy)giving my opinion on the sustainability initiatives they had just announced, as well as my thoughts on how they can make things better for the consumer interested in sustainability.
The experience actually started almost a month ago when a film crew headed out to the homes of four of the Walmart Moms; me, Denise, Jennae (Green Your Decor and Green and Gorgeous) and Nicole (Presley’s Pantry). Their job was to find out what sustainability meant to each of us. Check it out–they made us all look great! Plus you get a little peek at the inside of my house.
Then all four of us were asked to attend the first day of Walmart’s Sustainability Expo. There were over 2000 interested parties in attendance. Folks from Walmart, from partner companies, and subject matter experts. We had special reserved seats just 3 rows from the front.
Apparently this expo was one of the largest gathering of CEO’s in Walmart history. They all came together to sign commitments and pledge their support to accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture and recycling. Eight of the largest food companies announced pledges for innovation to make the food supply affordable and sustainable for the 9 billion people expected to populate the earth by 2050.
“Walmart and our suppliers recognize that collaboration is the key to bringing sustainable solutions to all of our customers,” said Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart Stores, Inc. “A great deal of innovative work is happening every day, but there are still too many gaps and missed opportunities. Today’s commitments are about creating real systems change from one end of the supply chain to the other — meaning how products are grown and made, how they’re transported and sold, and how we touch the lives of people along the way.”
One of the things I though was really exciting was the new “Closed Loop Fund” that was announced at the expo. The fund will invest $100 million in recycling infrastructure projects. The idea is that it doesn’t matter how recyclable the retailers make items–if recycling isn’t easily available in communities then customers are not going to recycle. I love that the fund isn’t about giving money to companies but instead about making communities more able to participate.
Some of the other initiatives and goals announced in the meeting:
- Together with Procter & Gamble, Walmart announced a commitment to a 25 percent reduction in water per dose for all liquid laundry detergent.
- In the area of fertilizer management, Walmart last year set a goal of optimizing 14 million acres of farmland with the potential to reduce seven million metric tons of GHGs (Greenhouse Gas Emmisions). Combined with progress already made, the new pledges announced today will help advance that goal by optimizing an estimated 10 million acres and eliminating 8.5 million metric tons of GHGs.
- Working with Cargill, Walmart is developing a small-scale pilot focused on improved beef supply chain visibility, including increased traceability elements resulting in more visibility from farm to fork. This is part of Walmart’s goal to source 15 percent of its beef supply with environmental criteria by 2023.
- In collaboration with Conservation International and suppliers, Walmart has converted 27 percent of the palm oil used in its private-brand products from conventional to sustainable palm oil.
Want to see what the other ladies thought?