Walmart Unveils Global Sustainable Agriculture Goals
Retailer will buy more from small and mid-sized farmers around the world; reduce food waste; and sustainably source key agricultural products
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Walmart today launched its new global commitment to sustainable agriculture that will help small and medium-sized farmers expand their businesses, get more income for their products, and reduce the environmental impact of farming, while strengthening local economies and providing customers around the world with long-term access to affordable, high-quality, fresh food.
"More than 1 billion people around the world rely on farming and hundreds of millions of them live on less than $2 a day," said Mike Duke, Walmart president and CEO. "Globally, with a booming population, food production must increase roughly 70 percent to feed 9 billion people in 2050."
Duke continued, "Through sustainable agriculture, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a positive difference in food production -- for farmers, communities and customers. Our efforts will help increase farmer incomes, lead to more efficient use of pesticides, fertilizer and water, and provide fresher produce for our customers."
Walmart's sustainable agriculture strategy is divided into three broad areas, each containing specific supporting goals to help the company track and report its progress.
Support farmers and their communities
More than a billion people rely on agriculture for subsistence. By the end of 2015 in emerging markets, Walmart will help many small and mid-sized farmers gain access to markets by:
Produce more food with fewer resources and less waste
Walmart has one of the world's largest food supply chains and is committed to reducing and optimizing the resources required to produce that food and driving more transparency into its supply chain. For the first time Walmart will ask suppliers about the water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide they use per unit of food produced. The goals include:
Sustainably source key agriculture products
Farming practices are having unintended side effects, from deforestation of the world's rainforests to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Walmart will focus on two of the major contributors to global deforestation, palm oil and beef production.
To help reach these goals, Walmart's global markets have also established country specific commitments. For example:
In the U.S., Walmart's Heritage Agriculture program will help the company double the sale of locally grown food. The program focuses on sourcing produce from states and regions with long histories of agricultural production. Three of Walmart's largest Heritage Agriculture programs are in the I-95 corridor along the East coast, the Delta region in the South and the Mid-America region of the Midwest. Sourcing examples include tomatoes, blueberries and broccoli in the I-95 corridor, peaches, cucumbers and strawberries in the Delta region and potatoes, onions and apples in the Mid-American program.
Walmart consulted with a number of suppliers, universities and non-government organizations to develop these goals, including World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, the Field to Market Alliance and Environmental Defense Fund. Visit walmartstores.com for a full list of Walmart's global Sustainable Agriculture commitments.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or "Walmart," serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine's 2010 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Walmartnews. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.