Walmart's Project Gigaton gets going
April 19, 2018
by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart is reporting positive results for its Project Gigaton initiative which engages Walmart suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To date, suppliers have reported reductions of more than 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the company revealed during its annual Sustainability Milestone Summit.
“In its first year, Project Gigaton has helped to inspire action that has led to the avoidance of millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has expanded into an international campaign that includes the participation of several hundred suppliers,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “The early success of Project Gigaton parallels ongoing progress in our operational efforts that seek to double our US renewable energy use and expand our customer electric vehicle charging hubs to retail outlets across more than 30 states.”
Tyson Foods President and CEO Tom Hayes said Tyson is putting sustainability at the center of the company’s activities.
“We have the opportunity — and responsibility — to make a big difference, but we can’t do it alone,” Hayes said. “We’re proud to team up with Walmart and are working with farmers, ranchers and others to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030 and support improved environmental practices on two million acres of cropland by 2020. Solving complex challenges isn’t easy — but working together, we’re making progress every day.”
Project Gigaton has six pillars that include energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation and product use, and suppliers can commit to reductions in any of those categories. Walmart said approximately 85 percent of emissions reductions reported by suppliers fell in the energy and product use pillars. The reductions were achieved via projects devoted to renewable energy investments and the development of more efficient products, for example.
Walmart recently expanded Project Gigaton to include suppliers in China and the United Kingdom. More than 400 suppliers across 30 countries have joined Project Gigaton, Walmart said.
“This annual milestone marks a pivot point for Walmart and 400 of its suppliers to share solutions and lessons learned. The next step is to deepen commitments that unlock the potential of this platform,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “We need collaborative initiatives like Project Gigaton and We Are Still In. With sufficient goals and results they can help define our country’s ability to build a sustainable future. And they also shape the world’s understanding of our commitment to solving climate change.”
Other developments reported during the Sustainability Milestone Summit involved Walmart’s commitment to action on renewable energy and installation of electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations at the company’s stores.
Walmart plans to add several hundred charging stalls across its operations in 34 states, which will more than double its EV charging station sites. The expansion will bring Walmart’s total number of charging units to well over 1,000 once the project is complete. The project will make Walmart a leading EV charging station host by creating a national grid of electric vehicle charging availability at hundreds of Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations. Several of the charging stalls will feature super-fast chargers capable of charging a car in 10 to 30 minutes.
New sustainability commitments at Walmart include doubling the amount of renewable energy the company uses in the US. Walmart announced plans to add on-site solar energy at 130 additional sites bringing the total to approximately 500 locations across 22 states and Puerto Rico.
Walmart reached an agreement with Geronimo Energy and Engie to acquire renewable energy that will enable construction of two large-scale wind farms. Walmart expects the wind farms to generate 1.26 billion kWh annually, which is the equivalent of most of the electricity needed to power Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution across seven midwestern states.
Finally, Walmart, Google and Georgia Power successfully collaborated on an initiative that will result in the Walmart obtaining 182 million kWh of additional renewable energy annually. Under this arrangement, approximately 34 percent of Walmart’s power demand for its retail locations served by Georgia Power will come from the renewable sources in the program when the new Georgia Power arrangement is operational.
Cumulatively, these new solar and wind projects will double Walmart’s renewable energy use in the US and move it toward its 2025 goal of being supplied with 50 percent renewable energy. The projects are expected to provide more than 1.6 billion kWh of renewable energy annually to Walmart, equivalent to the average annual electricity use of more than 139,000 homes.