Walmart Canada's Sustainability Path

Building the Next Generation Walmart...Responsibly
May 11, 2012 7:45 PM ET

Branding for Good talked with Andrew Telfer, Manager of Sustainability at Walmart Canada, to discuss his company’s sustainability initiatives.

With more than 85,000 associates and 330 stores, Walmart Canada is still less than 10% the size of its southern neighbour. Yet its Core Sustainability Goals mirror those of the global Walmart brand. That is, they aim to:

  • be supplied 100 per cent by renewable energy
  • create zero waste
  • sell products that sustain people and the environment

Due to their sheer size, Walmart Canada can boast of being one of the country’s largest commercial purchasers of green power. They use geothermal and hydrogen fuel cells technology in their energy mix, along with solar and wind power. New stores are now 30% more energy-efficient than older stores, a trend that led Walmart Canada to build their first sustainable distribution center.

Telfer says that Walmart Canada encourages their suppliers to optimize packaging whenever possible, adding that many suppliers find it in their own best interest to do so as they see value in decreasing waste and saving costs at the same time. In other cases, Walmart insists that certain types of plastic, such as PVC, be replaced with PET.Their goal is to create closed loops where suppliers use the same PET plastic over and over again.

“If we can keep the clear plastic packaging stream to be consistent,” says Telfer, “then we can increase recycling rates and increase the use of recycled PET. This, in turn, will decrease the amount of virgin materials used for PET creation.”

Walmart Canada’s My Sustainability Plan focuses attention on the company’s internal associates – “employee green engagement” – by providing them with incentives and tools to passionately seek and track tangible change.... Read More

Walmart will be at Sustainable Brands ’12 Conference where Rahul Raj, Director of Sustainability, Walmart will be speaking about Walmart’s US Sustainability platform. The SB’12 conference runs from June 4 – 7 in San Diego, California and brings together over 1,000 Sustainability, Brand and Innovation Leaders to share insights and strategies for better understanding the shift in consumer demand and behavior that is driving the need for radical innovation.