Eliminating waste in your operations (factories, farms, warehouses and distribution centers) and throughout the value chain can have an immediate positive effect on your bottom line. The elimination of waste can reduce costs, increase the efficient use of resources and reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with operating your business. Is your business ready to reduce the waste in your operations?

Food, products and material waste is associated with significant amounts of GHG emissions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten globally is estimated at 3.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. If food waste were a country, it would be the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China.

How to Join


Resources

To join the Waste pillar of Project Gigaton, your company should set a goal to reduce waste in your own operations, supply chain or at the customer level. Examples of areas you could target for waste reduction include: general solid waste reduction in your operations, food waste reduction in your operations and value chain, or food waste reduction at the customer level.

For example, you could submit a goal to:

  • Divert 80 percent of solid waste in your operations in the U.S. and globally by 2030.
  • Achieve zero waste in your operations in the U.S. and globally by 2030.
  • Decrease food waste sent to landfill and incineration (per metric ton of food produced) by 30 percent by 2025 (compared to the 2017 baseline).
  • Work with suppliers to reduce food waste in the supply chain by 20 percent by 2025 (versus 2018).
  • Standardize expiration dates across 80 percent of brands to “Best If Used By” and “Use By” as prescribed by Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

The above goals are illustrative examples only and by no means the only goal style that could be submitted as part of Project Gigaton – you’ll need to determine the scope, timeline and type of goal that makes sense for your company and products. After submitting a goal using the button below, you’ll be asked to report on your progress annually so the impact can be recognized and attributed toward the Project Gigaton one gigaton emissions reduction target.


General Waste

Practical guidance on setting a general waste reduction goal

Reducing and diverting general waste is a clear way to reduce your costs and lower emissions associated with waste going to landfills and incineration. When considering how to develop a general waste diversion plan and set up a goal, you can follow this waste handling maturity model* and identify opportunities for improvement:


You can also follow the EPA non-hazardous materials and waste management hierarchy which recognizes that no single waste management approach is suitable for managing all materials and waste streams in all circumstances. The hierarchy ranks the various management strategies from the most to the least environmentally preferred. Emphasis is placed on reducing, reusing and recycling as key to sustainable materials management.


What will you report each year and how will it be converted to GHGs?

Each year, you’ll be asked to submit data points to Walmart based on the Project Gigaton pillars you’ve joined (Energy, Waste, Agriculture, etc.). For General Waste in your own operations, you’ll be asked to submit the impact of improvements you’ve achieved in a given calendar year. There are two options for submitting General Wastedata to Project Gigaton reporting:

Option 1: If your company already uses the EPA WARM tool to calculate energy and emissions avoidance associated with your waste management programs, you will be able to upload a completed tool to report to Project Gigaton.

Option 2: If your company doesn’t use the EPA WARM tool, you will be asked to submit the weight of waste diverted (recycled, composted, anaerobically digested, combusted, etc.) and landfilled by material type. A list of the most commonly used materials (e.g. plastics, cardboard, food waste) will be provided in the survey. Once data has been submitted, the greenhouse gas equivalency will be calculated using the EPA WARM Tool emission factors.

For more information and technical guidance, please refer to the EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM).

Food Waste

Practical guidance on setting a food waste reduction goal

Food waste in your operations
Due to differences of waste in the food value chain, we have dedicated a separate sub-section to food waste reduction in your own operations (farms and factories). The overall approach will be similar to the general waste goal and relies on the use of the Food Loss and Waste Protocol framework. When developing a food waste diversion plan and goal, consider the following food waste handling maturity model* to identify opportunities for improvement.

The EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy (pictured below) prioritizes actions organizations can take to prevent and divert wasted food. Each tier of the Food Recovery Hierarchy focuses on different management strategies for wasted food. The top levels of the hierarchy are the best ways to prevent and divert wasted food because they create the most benefits for the environment, society and the economy.

Food waste in your value chain
To support the U.N. goal to reduce food losses along production and supply chains by 2030, we encourage you to work with your direct supply chain to reduce post-harvest losses at the farm level. Prioritize geographic regions that are important for you.

Food waste at the customer level
To support the U.N. goal to reduce the per capita global food waste at the consumer level in half by 2030, we encourage you to:

  • Standardize expiration dates across your brands to “Best If Used By” and “Use By” as prescribed by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) initiative.
  • Introduce food processing and packaging innovations that extend food shelf life.
  • Educate customers about measures to prevent food waste at the household level.
What will you report each year and how will it be converted to GHGs?

Each year, you’ll be asked to submit data points to Walmart based on the Project Gigaton pillars you’ve joined (Energy, Waste, Agriculture, etc.). For Food Waste in your own operations, value chain, and at the customer-level, you’ll be asked to submit the impact of improvements you’ve achieved in a given calendar year. There are multiple options for submitting data to Project Gigaton reporting depending of the type of impact you’ve achieved.

Food waste in your operations
If you’ve worked to measure and reduce food waste in your operations, there are two options for submitting data to Project Gigaton reporting:

Option 1: Upload a completed FLW Standard Reporting Template. We encourage you to use the Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Accounting and Reporting Standard to measure food waste in your operations. You can download the Standard Reporting Template and other resources from the FLW Protocol website.

Option 2: Submit the below data points for Project Gigaton reporting. Once data has been submitted, the greenhouse gas equivalency will be calculated using the EPA WARM tool emission factors.

  • Short tons food not sold to for-profit markets (total loss)
  • Short tons donated for human consumption
  • Short tons recovered (details if available):
    • Short tons sent to animal feed
    • Short tons composted
    • Short tons anaerobically digested
  • Short tons land applied
  • Short tons not harvested/plowed in
  • Short tons sent to sewer/wastewater treatment
  • Short tons landfilled and combusted

Food waste in your value chain
Starting in 2018, you will be able to report food waste reduction data from your value chain to Project Gigaton using the FLW Standard format and the greenhouse gas equivalency will be calculated using the EPA WARM tool.

Food waste at the customer level
Consumers face a confusing array of labels and phrasing that differ widely based on state laws and manufacturer preferences. We encourage our suppliers to standardize expiration dates across their brands to “Best If Used By” and “Use By” as prescribed by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) initiative.

If you worked on date labeling standardization of your products, you'll be asked to submit the following data point for Project Gigaton reporting:

  • Weight of products sold with standardized labeling (by category)

Once data has been submitted, the greenhouse gas equivalency will be calculated using the formula below:


Variable
Description
Source
Weight of products sold
lbs/year of products sold with standardized date labeling
Supplier-reported
% consumer waste
% of food products sold that become food waste (varies by product category) – “avoidable” waste only
2011 USDA Consumer Food Loss study
% waste due to date labeling confusion
% of food waste due to date labeling confusion
Under development – to be announced
% waste reduced
% waste reduced due to standard labeling practices
Under development – to be announced
GHG emission factor
Emissions factors accounting for the avoided emissions of consuming versus landfilling food
EPA WARM Tool


Starting in 2018, you will also be able to report data from the shelf-life extension of your products to Project Gigaton and the greenhouse gas equivalency will be calculated.

If you believe you have an emissions-reducing waste solution that should be counted toward Project Gigaton, but isn’t covered by the guidance listed above, please tell us about it by contacting corpsu@wal-mart.com.

For additional information about Project Gigaton, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

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