Sourcing requirements, supplier engagement and inclusive sourcing efforts can help send a “market signal” and build capabilities to produce more sustainable products. Read below how Walmart is working together with suppliers and other key stakeholders to ensure our products (e.g., beef, coffee, paper, produce, row crops, seafood, tea, textiles, and more) are brought to market responsibly.
We aspire to source our fresh beef products more sustainably by 2025, including prioritizing soil health, animal welfare and responsible use of antibiotics. We will continue working with suppliers to improve grain sourcing and grazing management practices across a total of 12 million acres, while also encouraging our suppliers to implement practices consistent with the “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare.
Need for Greater Transparency
Using a science-driven process, we worked with The Nature Conservancy to identify opportunities and strategies to improve sustainability efforts throughout our supply chain, which can ultimately lead to improved soil health and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. With this in place, we aspire to source from fresh beef suppliers who have a tech-enabled supply chain to measure sustainability impact at scale. The infusion of modern technology may help beef suppliers measure the benefits of grazing and grain best practices, adaptively manage and offer a more accurate way to trace impact. It can also help support beef suppliers’ efforts to better understand the environmental footprint of their supply chains, for instance using geographic and greenhouse gas indicators.
Collaboration Is Key
Supporting farmers and ranchers in their efforts to improve and continue to drive meaningful, lasting change across the beef supply chain calls for collaboration. While we work with individuals and small groups of stakeholders, we’re also pursuing — and invite our suppliers to join us in — key collective action initiatives, such as the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Midwest Row Crop Collaborative and Field to Market.
Why It Matters
Grazing lands cover about 40% of the U.S., including iconic ecosystems and important wildlife. Grasslands, rangelands and pasture also store abundant soil carbon. Well-managed grazing can help ensure clean water, enhance habitat, sustain rural communities and store additional carbon in the soil, which helps mitigate emissions.
In 2017, we set a goal to source more sustainably the private brand coffee found in Walmart stores in the U.S. by 2020. We met this goal a full year ahead of schedule, so all coffee sourced for Walmart U.S. private brands is certified sustainable through Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM or UTZ.
Working with others through Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge. Walmart was the first major North American retailer to join The Challenge in 2017.
Collaborating with our suppliers through THESIS, one of several tools that helps us make progress against our sustainability goals.
Increasing traceability within our private brand coffee. That includes working with one of our coffee suppliers, Westrock Coffee, to offer visibility into a sustainable supply chain, all the way back to the coffee farmers at origin.
Why It Matters
When our customers enjoy the aroma of our private brand coffee, we also want to ensure we’re meeting their expectations on quality and sourcing based on leading certified industry standards — all while delivering on everyday low prices. Our customers can feel confident the coffee they’re buying from us was grown with care, by farmers working to build sustainable livelihoods and thriving communities.
At Walmart, we believe a healthy natural world is key to healthy communities. That belief drives our zero net deforestation goal, using pulp and paper sourcing practices that seek to reduce our forest “footprint” and promote sustainable management and conservation efforts.
With this step, we’re extending our sourcing approach for paper products in Stationery departments across our U.S. stores to include both private and national brands. That means customers can expect the same commitment to sustainability across all the brands available in Stationery departments of our U.S. stores.
Why It Matters
This work is important because deforestation is occurring at a staggering pace. Globally, we’re losing the equivalent of a soccer field’s worth of primary rain forest every six seconds due to production of agricultural and forest products and other human-caused impacts.1 We can be part of a change that supports forests, and the people who rely on them, for generations to come.
We aspire to source our fresh produce more sustainably by 2025, including prioritizing protecting pollinator health, reducing plastic in packaging and food waste, promoting responsible recruitment, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In an effort to protect and restore natural resources involved in the production of the produce we sell, Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club have committed to sourcing 100% of the fresh produce and floral we sell in our in-store Produce department from suppliers that adopt integrated pest management practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025. See Walmart U.S. Pollinator Position.
Why It Matters
According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), pollination is important for maintaining the populations of many plants and is critical in agricultural systems. About 75 percent of the world’s major crops are dependent on pollinators, and they contribute to the subsistence agricultural production that feeds many millions of people. Studies suggest that many worldwide ecosystems have seen a decline in pollinator abundance and diversity, and potential reasons for that decline include land-use change, intensive agricultural management and pesticide use, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens and climate change. Therefore, a substantial decline in pollinator populations, such as bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, bats, moths and wasps, may threaten food production for both local consumption and global food markets.
Walmart Pollinator Commitments
We have invited our suppliers, stakeholders, and customers to join the journey to take action to help protect our planet with our pollinator commitments by promoting integrated pest management plans and through improving and expanding pollinator habitats.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
According to EPA, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides.
Walmart U.S. will source 100% of the fresh produce and floral we sell in our in-store Produce department from suppliers that adopt integrated pest management practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025. We also encourage fresh produce suppliers to report their pesticide application and biodiversity management annually, through Walmart’s annual sustainability surveys.
Walmart is also encouraging fresh produce suppliers to phase out use of chlorpyrifos and nitroguanidine neonicotinoids pesticides (where applicable unless mandated otherwise by law), avoid replacing them with other products with a Level I bee precaution rating and assess and report annual progress. The following are resources to help you learn more:
Additional third-party certifications may be added to the above list as they are able to demonstrate improvements to their IPM criteria.
USDA Certified Organic
According to the US Department of Agriculture, “certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” Learn more from the following resources:
An Organic Shop at Walmart: We’re moving all organic fresh produce items in store into one area of the department so customers who want organic items can enjoy one-stop shopping. Also visit Walmart.com and Walmart Grocery.
Improve and Expand Pollinator Habitats
To help improve and expand pollinator habitats, Walmart U.S. will:
Encourage fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore, or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3% of land they own, operate, and/or invest in (e.g., community gardens, pollinator-friendly solar, sustainable landscapes). Check four new Habitat Guides with regionally specific information to help accelerate your work to protect and promote pollinators in your supply chain.These guides, developed in collaboration with the Pollinator Partnership as well as insights from farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, crop consultants, researchers and government authorities, are built to be region specific and action oriented. Regional guides: Pacific Northwest, California, Southeast and Northeast.
Encourage live-plant suppliers to label pollinator-friendly plants (plants grown without neonicotinoids, flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor) for sale in our retail stores.
Continue to avoid selling invasive plant species based on recognized regional lists.
Help educate customers about pollinator plants for home gardens. In the spring of 2021, more than 1.3 million annual and perennial neonic-free plants for sale in our stores will carry tags to help customers identify plants that attract pollinators. We will explore other initiatives, online and in store, to engage and educate customers. Lawn care made simple, visit Walmart.com.
Explore opportunities to incorporate pollinator habitat on Walmart U.S. real estate or in local communities.
Walmart and Sam's Club are taking a holistic approach to bring about system-wide change – but no one company, sector or individual can do this alone. It will take each of us, individually and collectively, taking courageous action now to create a regenerative future that is more sustainable, healthier, cleaner, inclusive and equitable.
Row crop farmers from across the globe are implementing sustainable practices because they’re good for business and the planet, which is why Walmart and Sam’s Club collaborated with lead NGOs and agriculture experts to craft the Walmart and Sam’s Club Sustainable Row Crop Position Statement.
What the Statement Outlines
The position statement outlines a variety of best farming practices that the supply chain is encouraged to adopt. Practices span across four general management areas, including soil and nutrient management, pest management, water management, and land management. It also emphasizes the importance of protecting priority areas — especially areas that are at risk of land use conversion or being cleared of native vegetation. To enhance conservation of priority areas, we support agreements to permanently protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms.
The statement also encourages suppliers and their supply chain partners to adopt these management practices using a place-based or jurisdictional approach. A place-based approach integrates social, economic, and environmental outcomes in partnerships between private companies, governments, and local stakeholders.
Why It Matters
We firmly believe implementing these practices will drive value through increased crop yield resiliency, improved soil health, natural resource preservation, and, in many cases, increased profitability for the farmer. We believe this because we've seen it: farmers around the globe are already achieving results by adopting these practices. Our bold row crop ambitions require new ways of farming, and recognize that best practices will vary and depend on the geography farmers are in. Watch the Row Crop Summit and learn more about why regenerative agriculture is important to us.
This milestone could serve as a first step to influence global practices around sustainable seafood, with Great Value canned tuna setting a roadmap for other brands to show how they can be part of creating positive change. We support accountability, which is why Walmart asks suppliers to report their progress using the Seafood Metrics System, managed by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). This system helps measure and track supplier performance on sustainable sourcing.
Why It Matters
While seafood remains an important source of protein and income for people around the world, according to the United Nations, one-third of global fisheries have been fished beyond sustainable limits. Advanced action could help change that narrative and support healthier oceans.
When customers enjoy a cup of our Great Value tea, we want to ensure we are meeting their expectations on quality, sustainability, and every day low price. To continue our sustainability journey, in July 2021, Walmart announced all black and green tea bags and instant iced teas sourced for Walmart U.S. private brands will be certified sustainable through Rainforest Alliance.
By partnering with our tea suppliers, fifteen private brand items under the Great Value brand (representing 100% of our black and green tea bags and instant iced teas) are included under the sustainably sourced tea portfolio. This will benefit farmers and communities in several countries including Argentina, India, China, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Kenya.
Why It Matters
To achieve and maintain the Rainforest Alliance certification level, tea farms must undergo annual audits against a rigorous standard with detailed environmental, economic, and social criteria.1 By choosing certified sustainably sourced tea, consumers can feel confident that they are buying a product that is contributing to a better future for the people and planet by:
Improving the livelihood of farmers through a supply chain that adopts best practices for the protection of worker rights, responsible recruitment, and the promotion of worker health and wellbeing programs. It also promotes the advancement of wages for tea farmers.
Improving the environmental footprint by educating farmers on how to protect and manage resources and the environment, while providing incentives to implement sustainable practices.
Textile products are an essential part of our customers’ everyday lives and represent an important sector in the global economy. As global population is projected to rise, the demand for products like clothing, towels and other textile products will likely increase, while resources are expected to become more scarce. The challenge facing the world is how to produce an increasing volume of products while working to conserve resources. Walmart aims to address this challenge by working with suppliers, NGOs, and other industry stakeholders to improve the sustainability of our textiles supply chain.
Sourcing Fibers Sustainably
Walmart is working with Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile suppliers to source key fibers like cotton, polyester, and manmade cellulosic fibers more sustainably, and asks suppliers to report progress annually through the Textiles Section of Walmart’s Sustainability Survey.
By 2025, Walmart will endeavor to source 100% more sustainable cotton for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile products.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, cotton is one of the most important textile fibers in the world, averaging about 25 percent of total world fiber use. Key challenges to achieving a more sustainable cotton supply include climate change, resource depletion, and traceability. Walmart has been working with stakeholders across the industry, including Field-to-Market, our suppliers, and Cotton LEADS, to learn more about the issues facing cotton and potential approaches to create system change all the way back to the cotton field.
In Walmart’s view, “more sustainable cotton” means working to continuously improve environmental and social performance on the fields where cotton is grown, including but not limited to, factors such as:
Maximizing land use efficiency/yield
Improving soil health
Optimizing inputs like water and chemicals
Decreasing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
Promoting conditions that are better for workers and farmers
To achieve our goal, Walmart will work with Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand suppliers to use a variety of cotton sources that align with our view of more sustainable cotton, such as Cotton USA, cotton produced under the Better Cotton Standard, and cotton certified under a recognized certification program like Organic or Fair Trade USA. Additionally, in support of our aspiration to help create a more circular economy, Walmart will also endeavor to work with suppliers to include recycled cotton as a source of more sustainable cotton to achieve our goal. We believe Walmart’s goal will help increase both the demand and supply for sustainably sourced cotton.
Walmart is a proud member of The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). Better Cotton is sourced via a system of Mass Balance and is not physically traceable to end products (see bettercotton.org/massbalance for details).
Walmart also aims to work with suppliers and industry partners to increase visibility into where cotton sourced for our Private Brand apparel and home textile products is grown, as well as build a better understanding of conditions in key cotton sourcing regions globally and the sustainability risks arising in the face of climate change. This research and collaboration will help guide Walmart’s approach to support cotton sustainability improvements in the future.
Suppliers should consult the Walmart U.S. Private Brand Preferred Fiber Claim Guidelines for additional details and guidance (accessible via Retail Link > Apps > PQ: Product Quality and Compliance Library > Sustainability > PB Preferred Fiber Claims Guidelines).
Walmart aspires to source 100% recycled polyester fiber for our Private Brand apparel and home textile products. We have set a target to source 50% recycled polyester for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile products by 2025.
According to Textile Exchange, polyester is the most commonly used fiber in the world and accounts for roughly half of the overall fiber market. Polyester fiber is used within many of Walmart’s apparel and soft home textile products. While polyester is a manmade fiber conventionally made from oil, it’s becoming more feasible to create recycled polyester fiber from pre- or post-consumer plastic waste such as PET bottles.
As a global retailer, Walmart aspires to help create a more circular economy, moving away from a take-make-dispose approach to one where resources are preserved in production, and the materials are ultimately recycled back into the economic stream. In support of this aspiration, Walmart is working with suppliers and other industry partners to increase the use of recycled polyester fiber in our Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile products, while also maintaining the quality our customers expect, preserving resources, and reducing environmental impact within our supply chain.
To help achieve our goal, Walmart will work with Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand suppliers to source verifiable sources of recycled polyester (rPET). Suppliers should consult the Walmart U.S. Private Brand Preferred Fiber Claim Guidelines for additional details and guidance (accessible via Retail Link > Apps > PQ: Product Quality and Compliance Library > Sustainability > PB Preferred Fiber Claims Guidelines).
Manmade Cellulosic Fibers
By 2025, Walmart will require suppliers to ensure that none of the manmade cellulosic fibers – including rayon/viscose, modal, lyocell, acetate and trademarked versions – sourced for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile products are derived from ancient and endangered forests, or from endangered species’ habitats or other controversial sources, as defined by the nonprofit organization Canopy’s tools and reports.
According to Canopy, manmade cellulosic fibers (MMCF) are a type of fiber made primarily from the dissolved pulp of trees, such as viscose/rayon, lyocell, and modal. About 200 million trees go into the production of fabrics from MMCF each year, with production levels growing to feed global apparel and textile sectors. Sustainable sourcing of these materials is important to foster forest health and to secure availability of forest resources into the future. Sustainable forest management protects biodiversity, High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) areas, enhances ecosystem functions and water quality and quantity, helps prevent conversion of natural forests to plantations or other land uses, helps promote indigenous peoples’ and worker rights, and mitigates greenhouse gas emissions. Walmart recognizes the important role of healthy forests for society, as well as for our business. To continue to meet the expectations of our customers and to help preserve forests as a resource, we are working with our Private Brand apparel and home textile suppliers to better understand the origin of manmade cellulosic fibers (MMCF) in our products and to promote demand for MMCF coming from sustainably managed forests/feedstocks.
To achieve our goal, all Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile suppliers of products that contain manmade cellulosic fibers must:
Use manmade cellulosic fibers derived from fiber producers who are sustainably sourcing wood and pulp, as indicated by a “green shirt” ranking in Canopy’s annual Hot Button report.
Avoid controversial sourcing practices including sourcing from endangered species habitat, illegal logging operations, plantations converted after 1994, and logging where free, prior and informed consent by local and indigenous communities has not been attained.
Maintain and report annually in the Textiles Section of our Sustainability Survey comprehensive records about the volume of manmade cellulosic fibers being sourced for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile products, as well as confirm whether the manmade cellulosic fiber producers you are procuring from have achieved a “green shirt” ranking in Canopy’s Hot Button Report.
Maintain and track all FSC™ certification and/or recycled/alternative fiber content claims with appropriate documentation per the Walmart U.S. Private Brand Preferred Fiber Claim Guidelines (accessible via Retail Link pathway provided at the end of this section).
In addition to the above requirements, all Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile suppliers of products that contain manmade cellulosic fibers are strongly encouraged to:
Support the use of lower impact alternative fiber sources, such as recycled textile fibers, agricultural residues, and other next generation solutions where cost, quality, and availability allow.
Where virgin fibers are still required and have met the preceding requirements, prefer internationally-recognized chain of custody standards such as Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) certified or controlled sources when available with quantities, performance characteristics and prices that meet supplier needs.
Support the use of best available processing technologies in manmade cellulosic fiber production, as referenced in Canopy’s annual Hot Button report.
Should Walmart confirm that any manmade cellulosic fibers being sourced by suppliers for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel or home textile products originate from ancient and endangered forests, endangered species habitat or illegal logging, we will engage our suppliers to change practices and/or re-evaluate our relationship with them. Suppliers should consult the Walmart U.S. Private Brand Preferred Fiber Claim Guidelines listed in the Resources section at the bottom of this page for additional details and guidance.
Preferred/More Sustainable Fiber Reporting
Walmart is committed to sourcing 100% more sustainable cotton (see Cotton section above), 50% recycled polyester (see Polyester section above), and 100% manmade cellulosic fibers that are free of materials derived from ancient or endangered forests (see Manmade Cellulosic Fibers section above) for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private Brand apparel and home textile products by 2025. All Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club U.S., and Walmart Canada Private and Proprietary Brand suppliers of apparel and home textile products are asked to participate in the Textiles Section of the annual Walmart/Sam’s Club Sustainability Survey. Participation from National and License Brand apparel and home textile suppliers is also encouraged. Results from supplier responses will be key data used for tracking progress against our fiber sourcing goals.
Walmart aspires to sell products that are not only affordable but that are produced in a responsible and sustainable way. Chemistry is essential to the production of manufactured products, including the apparel, footwear, and soft home textiles that our customers purchase every day. As a next step in our sustainability journey, Walmart is working with suppliers to help support the reduction of priority chemical discharge in the textile manufacturing process.
Walmart will endeavor to work with suppliers to Walmart U.S. stores to reduce the discharge of priority chemicals from the manufacturing process for apparel, footwear, and soft home textiles by 2025.
Guided by industry leading chemical frameworks, Walmart will work with Private, Proprietary, License, and National brand suppliers to Walmart U.S. stores to identify priority chemicals discharged in the textile manufacturing process and establish best practices to limit and reduce their use.
Please note that all existing regulatory testing requirements are to remain in place. Suppliers should consult the Product Safety & Compliance Manual (accessible via Retail Link > Apps > Product Safety & Compliance Library) to understand how to comply with the U.S. Product Safety & Compliance Program.
Walmart also encourages suppliers to lead on sustainable chemistry in apparel, footwear, and soft home textile products and leverage third party certifications that assess and recognize leadership in line with the principles of sustainable chemistry. Third party certifications can help lend credibility and verification for how products are made and can provide a signal of sustainability leadership to customers, such as Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® and Made in Green by OEKO-TEX®. Suppliers should consult the Walmart OEKO-TEX® Claims Guidelines for guidance on OEKO-TEX® certifications and labeling (accessible via Retail Link > Apps > PQ: Product Quality and Compliance Library > Sustainability > OEKO-TEX Guidelines 052620 v2).
Reducing Impact in Textile Manufacturing
By 2022, Walmart U.S. stores will endeavor to source apparel and home textile products only from suppliers working with textile mills that use the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) to measure and help improve environmental performance.
Textile mills are a key environmental hot spot within the textiles value chain. In 2016, Walmart launched its Mill Sustainability Program to support suppliers and their mills in improving environmental-impact areas at textile mills. As part of this program, suppliers and mills baseline their performance using the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s widely accepted Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) and participate in expert-led workshops on practical steps to reduce costs and environmental impact through resource efficiency and process improvement. By collecting facility-level data, the Higg Index FEM provides benchmarking across seven areas of environmental assessment (including energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, chemical management, waste management, and more) and lays the groundwork to set actionable goals and measure improvement in the future. Since the Mill Sustainability Program’s launch, participation has continued to expand and Walmart is committed to keeping up the momentum.
To help achieve our goal, Walmart U.S. stores ask all Private, Proprietary, License, and National brand suppliers of apparel, footwear, and home textile products to provide transparency to their textile mill operations. They’re asked to report and verify performance by completing a Higg FEM self-assessment annually with third-party verification every other year, and establish plans for continuous improvement of environmental performance.
Transparency: Walmart asks Private, Proprietary, Licensed, and National brand suppliers to disclose all textile mills supplying fabric for products sold in Walmart U.S. stores through the Mill ID program and the SAC’s Higg Index FEM platform.
Reporting and Verification: Walmart asks Private, Proprietary, Licensed and National brand suppliers to ensure all textile mills supplying fabrics for products sold in Walmart U.S. stores complete a Higg FEM self-assessment annually, with 3rd party verification every other year, and share their scores with Walmart through the SAC’s Higg Index FEM platform.
Continuous Improvement: Walmart asks Private, Proprietary, Licensed, and National brand suppliers to work with their textile mills supplying fabrics for products sold in Walmart U.S. stores to create a plan for continuous improvement of their Higg Index FEM scores and share them with Walmart.
Supporting Worker Dignity Through Responsible Sourcing
At Walmart, we are committed to working with suppliers and stakeholders to help make the global supply chain more responsible. Through our Responsible Sourcing program, we set expectations of suppliers and the facilities they use, assess supply chain risk, monitor supply chain conditions through audits and investigations, provide training and tools for our associates and suppliers, and collaborate with others to make progress on key industry-wide issues.