Sourcing More Sustainably
In 2016, Walmart announced a goal to more sustainably source at least 20 key commodities by 2025, including produce.
Walmart's sustainability efforts prioritize people and the planet by aiming to source responsibly, eliminate waste and emissions, sell sustainable products and protect and restore nature.
Nature: Pollinator Health
In 2020, Walmart committed to becoming a regenerative company. As part of this commitment, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation aim to help protect, manage, or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.
As part of our commitment to protect and restore natural resources involved in production of the products we sell, Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club are taking these initial steps to promote pollinator health. Read our Walmart U.S. Pollinator Position.
- Why is protecting pollinators important?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. Therefore, a substantial decline in pollinator (e.g., bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, bats, moths, wasps) populations may threaten food production for both local consumption and global food markets.
- What are the major threats to pollinators?Research by IPBES confirms that wild pollinators have declined in abundance and diversity in regions including North America because of factors such as land-use change, intensive agricultural management and pesticide use, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens and climate change.
- Walmart Pollinator CommitmentsWe 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 ManagementAccording 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.
- Third-party certifications that verify IPMThird-party certifications that verify IPM adoption or that are protective of pollinator health and include robust IPM criteria include:
- Bee Better Certified
- Equitable Food Initiative (EFI)
- Fair Trade International – Hired Labor
- Fair Trade USA Year 6 and beyond, medium, and large farms.
- Global G.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance Fruit and Vegetable Versions 5.3-GFS and above. Flowers and Ornamental Version 5.2 and above.
- LEAF Marque
- Rainforest Alliance
- Sustainable Food Group Sustainability Standard
- Sustainably Grown (SCS Global Services)
- USDA certified organic, as well as international organic labels that meet the USDA standard for equivalency.
Additional third-party certifications may be added to the above list as they are able to demonstrate improvements to their IPM criteria.
- USDA Certified OrganicAccording 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.”
- USDA Organic
- USDA Organic 101
- USDA NRCS Conservation for Organic Farmers
- USDA National Agricultural Library
- Organic can help reverse pollinators declines. Organic farming supports spatiotemporal stability in species richness of bumblebees and butterflies. Carrié et al., 2018.
- Organic helps other beneficial insects flourish. Organic farms support more species. University of Oxford, 2014.
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 HabitatsTo 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). Suppliers are encouraged to report annual progress through Walmart’s annual sustainability surveys.
- 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.
- The Xerces Society: Pollinator Conservation Resource Center region-specific resources to aid in the planning, establishment, restoration, and maintenance of pollinator habitat.
- Pollinator Partnership: Ecoregional Planting Guides
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS): How is NRCS Helping Pollinators
People: Responsible Labor Practices
Promoting the dignity of workers in our supply chain begins by setting clear expectations for our suppliers. These are set out in our Standards for Suppliers, are consistent with our respect for human rights, and is foundation to our sustainability efforts. These apply to anyone that supplies products to Walmart and Sam's Club for resale as well as the facilities and any agents they use. These standards include expectations around forced labor, worker safety and respect in the workplace.
To help align the broader industry around a common approach to responsible labor practices, Walmart and Sam's Club worked with United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association’s Joint Committee on Responsible Labor Practices to help develop the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. Launched in July 2018, the Ethical Charter establishes guiding principles for the industry covering respect for laws at work, respect for professional conduct, and respect for human rights. Walmart and Sam's Club were one of the first retailers to publicly endorse the Ethical Charter when it launched.
New Commitment: Source 100% from fresh produce and floral suppliers that endorse the Ethical Charter by 2022.
Visit ethicalcharter.com for how to endorse the Ethical Charter.
Waste: Plastic and Packaging
We must embrace the concept of “circular economy,” which moves away from a “take-and-dispose” approach to one that values reuse and regeneration. We’re collaborating with suppliers, customers and communities to accelerate this philosophy — and one key focus area is through packaging design.
Packaging Goals: 100% of private brand packaging is recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025. 100% of private brand packaging is labeled How2Recycle® by 2022.
See how we are addressing plastic waste in our value chain through a three-pronged strategy. Explore the new Produce Packaging Guidelines available on the Retail Link Supplier Academy (you’ll be prompted to sign in Retail Link).
Because most emissions in the retail sector lie in product supply chains rather than in stores and distribution centers, in 2017, we started Project Gigaton — our initiative to engage suppliers in climate action along with NGOs and other stakeholders.
Through Project Gigaton, we aim to avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030 — and we need YOU to help us get there.
Learn how to participate in Project Gigaton.
Call-to-Action for Suppliers
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.
- If you weren’t able to attend, watch the recording of the Walmart Produce Sustainability Summit. Spanish close caption available by selecting the settings.
- Adopt robust integrated pest management practices and have them verified by a third-party by 2025.
- Endorse the Ethical Charter by end of 2022.
- Protect, restore or establish pollinator habitat in at least 3% of land you own, operate or invest in by 2025.
- Phase out use of chlorpyrifos and nitroguanidine neonicotinoids and avoid replacing them with other products with a level I bee precaution rating.
- Set goals for more sustainable packaging, design for recyclability and label your packaging for disposal.
- Download the Packaging Playbook.
- Be ready to report your sustainability metrics through Project Gigaton and THESIS in September.
- Participate in the Sustainability Learning Series monthly starting in May. See Sustainability Learning Series Archives in Retail Link’s Academy>Getting Started>Sustainability>Sustainable Produce. Click here to access Sustainable Produce (you will be prompted to sign-in Retail Link).