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 waste end-to-end

Food, products and material waste is associated with significant amounts of GHG emissions. Waste prevention and diversion can avoid greenhouse emissions that would otherwise have been emitted to create virgin material or from landfills. 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

To join the Waste pillar of Project Gigaton, your company could commit to reduce the emissions from waste in your own operations, supply chain or at the customer level. Examples of areas you could target for waste reduction include: general 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 90% percent of waste in your operations from landfill and incineration in the U.S. and globally by 2030.
Achieve zero waste in your operations in the U.S. and globally by 2030 (in accordance with ZWIA or TRUE or ULE definition).
Reduce 50 percent of food waste (non-diverted food waste / food sold or produced) by 2025 (compared to the 2017 baseline).
Work with suppliers to reduce food waste in your supply chain by 20 percent by 2025 (versus 2018).
Standardize date labels across 80 percent of your brands to “Best If Used By” or “Use By” as prescribed by Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) by 2022.

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. Formal, specific goals lead to substantially better returns and are an important part of being eligible to be recognized by Walmart; so, when setting a new goal, make sure it’s SMART. SMART goals are:

  • Specific – what’s your impact area?
  • Measurable – can you measure progress?
  • Achievable – is this a reasonable goal?
  • Relevant – does this fit into your strategy?
  • Time limited – by when?

After joining Project Gigaton, you’ll be asked to report on your progress annually so the impact can be recognized and attributed toward the Project Gigaton target.

Practical guidance on setting a general waste reduction goal

As you consider your goal, make sure to check out the Project Gigaton Calculators, which may help you identify potential goal areas in each pillar and estimate the emissions impact of your work.

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.

Practical guidance on setting a food waste reduction goal

As you consider your goal, make sure to check out the Project Gigaton Calculators, which may help you identify potential goal areas in each pillar and estimate the emissions impact of your work.

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 food waste reduction , we encourage you to work with your direct supply chain to reduce post-harvest losses at the farm level and food losses along production chains. Prioritize geographic regions that are important for you.

Food waste at the customer level
To reduce the per capita global food waste at consumer level, we encourage you to:
Standardize expiration date labels across your brands following the CGF Date Labeling Call for Action (global) and FMI and GMA Call for Action (US) which encourages food producers and retailers to take three important steps:
Utilize only one label at a time per product.
Utilize only two types of written food date labels on packaging: one expiration date for perishable items (e.g. “Use by”) or one food quality indicator for non-perishable items (e.g., “Best if used by”). The exact wording will be tailored to regional context and what is most understandable for the consumer.
Educate consumers on how to understand date labels.

In 2018 Walmart collaborated with ReFED, WWF and Ohio State University, with support from the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center to develop methodology that calculates greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the customer level that results from implementation of standardized date labeling.

Suppliers will be able to account for the greenhouse gas benefits of switching to standardized date labeling for products sold until the industry has transitioned 90% of all food products to adopt “Best if Used By” and “Use By” label, at which point this methodology will be removed as a reporting option.

Additionally to reduce food waste at customer level:
Look for ways to introduce food processing and packaging innovations that extend food shelf life.
Educate customers about measures to prevent food waste at the household level.

How will you calculate and report emissions saved each year?

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 every pillar you report to, you’ll be asked to submit the impact of improvements you’ve achieved in the reporting year. There are three options for submitting data to Project Gigaton reporting:

Option 1: For companies that need help calculating the greenhouse gas impact of their initiatives, let the Project Gigaton Calculators help! These calculators are available to help you report your progress during the annual Project Gigaton reporting period. They may also help you identify and estimate the emissions impact of future Project Gigaton goals.

Option 2: If your company already reports to the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire each year, your disclosure can be leveraged to report emissions reductions to Project Gigaton. To report to Project Gigaton using your CDP disclosure, you must grant permission through your company’s Project Gigaton account for Walmart to use your CDP data and all CC4.3b fields must be completed in your CDP disclosure. If you haven’t received a request to disclose from CDP but would like to volunteer to do so, or have questions about disclosure, please contact respond@cdp.net.

Option 3: For companies that do not use the Project Gigaton Calculators or report their emissions reductions to the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire each year, you can still report your already calculated aggregate greenhouse gas emissions reductions to Project Gigaton.

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

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