Walmart aiming to reduce greenhouse gases in China by 50m tonnes

By Richard J. Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Launched in America last summer, “Project Gigaton” aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 1bn tonnes in the next 12 years across its network.
Launched in America last summer, “Project Gigaton” aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 1bn tonnes in the next 12 years across its network.
Walmart has committed to reducing greenhouse emissions from its Chinese operation by the equivalent of the electricity consumption of 40m households by 2030.

The American retailer intends to do this by enrolling all of its export and domestic suppliers into an emissions reduction programme that will cut gas releases by an estimated 50m tonnes.

The process will begin with its 100 top suppliers, Walmart chief executive Doug McMillion announced during a visit to China.

We believe that business can accelerate environmental progress while delivering economic growth​,” McMillon said at the launch of the initiative at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Project Gigaton

Launched in America last summer, “Project Gigaton​” aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 1bn tonnes in the next 12 years across its network.

Integrating more sustainable practices into our operations, resource management and sourcing efforts can spur technological innovation, inspire brand loyalty and increase associate engagement​,” said said Wern-Yuen Tan, president and chief executive of Walmart China.

Through the initiative, suppliers will have access to a digital resource centre in Mandarin and English that includes case studies and training for reducing emissions in the value chain.

So far in America, over 400 suppliers have enrolled under a popular voluntary model. But in China, Walmart is taking a different direction to ensure success by enrolling its top suppliers under a country-specific road map, with clear targets and initiatives specific to Chinese business.

The retailer's plans are a way to ensure its own suppliers and operations are meeting both consumer and Chinese emissions standards.

Working with Beijing

Announcing the initiative, Walmart noted the project would complement China's goal of reducing energy intensity by 15% in 2020. The retailer also said it would be among the first to join the country's new Green Building Certification Program for Hypermarkets, and work with the Ministry of Commerce to develop Green Packaging Standards for the logistics industry in the company.

These are in addition to sustainability efforts Walmart has already started in China. It recently completed 1,400 retrofit projects to transform its existing facilities to reduce emissions and create a better shopping experience for customers.

The projects included converting lighting to energy-efficient LEDs, upgrading HVAC systems, and improving refrigeration fixtures to protect food quality and save energy. These efforts, along with other operational improvements, cut emissions by more than half on a per sales dollar basis over the last decade.

Walmart has also been working with the government to develop new green packaging standards for the logistics industry and helping suppliers reduce materials waste and support recycling in its value chain through Project Gigaton. By sharing best practices in developing sustainable packaging, the company aims to help promote “green consumption,” a priority for the China government this year.

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