At Walmart, we are working to provide a range of coffee product options that are affordable, high-quality and that build trust with our customers. When our customers enjoy the aroma of our private brand coffee, we want to ensure we meet their expectations on quality and sustainability, all while delivering on value to our customers. One way we’re doing this is by sourcing third-party certified sustainable coffee for private brand products sold in our Walmart U.S. stores.
Walmart’s Sustainable Coffee Commitment
In 2017, we set a goal to more sustainably source the private brand coffee found in Walmart stores in the U.S. by 2020. We’re happy to say that we met this goal one year ahead of schedule. This means that as of today – one year early – all coffee sourced for Walmart U.S. private brands is certified sustainable through Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM or UTZ.
Our approach to a more sustainable coffee supply doesn’t stop there. We’re working across our supply chain in other ways in our efforts to deliver sustainable coffee to our customers by:
- Working with others through Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge
- Collaborating with our suppliers through the Sustainability Index (THESIS)
- Increasing traceability within our private brand coffee
While Walmart has worked on its coffee offering, Sam’s Club has also worked to improve its selection for members. Currently, all Sam’s Club Member’s Mark single serve pods and whole been coffee is Fair Trade Certified.
Working with Others through the Sustainable Coffee Challenge
Walmart is part of Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a collaborative effort of companies, governments, non-profit organizations, research institutions and others seeking to advance sustainability efforts in the coffee sector. Walmart was the first major North American retailer to join The Challenge in 2017.
Collaborating with Coffee Suppliers through the Sustainability Index (THESIS)
The Sustainability Index (THESIS) is one of several tools that help us make progress against our sustainability goals. THESIS is a science-based, third-party tool developed by The Sustainability Consortium in collaboration with universities, NGOs and suppliers. The tool helps us collect data from suppliers on key environmental, social and other performance indicators across our product categories.
For coffee, this means the Sustainability Consortium has developed a list of key performance indicators for the category that suppliers are asked to report on.
Increasing Traceability within Our Private Brand Coffee
We’re working with suppliers to increase traceability within our private brands. 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. It’s all part of a larger effort to create more transparency so customers can feel good about the items they purchase at our stores.
Enhancing Sustainability of Supply Chains through Philanthropy
In addition to Walmart’s sustainability work, the Walmart Foundation looks across supply chains to support innovations or programs with the potential to create system-wide change. The Walmart Foundation also supports programs to address systemic barriers that prevent smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs from increasing their market access and improving their livelihoods. This work includes a focus on sustainable practices and the empowerment and inclusion of women.
For example, through its giving focus on increasing smallholder market access in Mexico and Central America, the Walmart Foundation provided a grant to Heifer International to build its “Beyond Coffee: The Power of Partnerships” program that aims to support 8,500 coffee farming families and organized farmer cooperatives in Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. The program broadly focuses on creating strong cooperatives, building sustainable market linkages, promoting diversified production and livelihoods, improving coffee quality and yield, empowering women and youth, and supporting interventions that help create climate resilience.
The Foundation also funded Root Capital to address major barriers that coffee farmers face, such as limited access to finance, sustainable market access, and challenges in responding to changes such as in climate. This grant is helping to further educate coffee cooperatives on financial management and sustainable practices to help grow their businesses and to help improve the livelihoods of their approximately 7,500 smallholder farmers in Mexico.
Lastly, the Walmart Foundation has funded Conservation International to map and monitor coffee’s footprint in the forests of Colombia and Indonesia. This work will help quantify deforestation and identify reforestation opportunities in the coffee industry in the tropics.
Updated: September 29, 2019