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Walmart launches platform to slash emissions

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart wants its suppliers to join the retailer to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their operations and supply chains.

The new initiative, dubbed “Project Gigaton,” will provide an emissions reduction tool kit to a broad network of suppliers seeking to eliminate one gigaton of emissions, focusing on such areas as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030. (According to Walmart, one gigaton is the equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads and highways for a year.)

“We are proud of the improvements we’ve made in reducing our own emissions, but we aim to do more. That’s why we’re working with our suppliers and others on Project Gigaton,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, senior VP and chief sustainability officer for Walmart.

Walmart said it is the first retailer with a verified science-based target emissions-reduction plan. The retailer aims to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18% by 2025. It is also working to reduce CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions from upstream and downstream Scope 3 sources by one billion tons (a gigaton) between 2015 and 2030.

The new Gigaton project is part of a series of Walmart sustainability initiatives that seek to address social and environmental issues in ways that help communities while also strengthening business. These include the chain’s investment in solar energy by which it has helped to support jobs for American solar companies. Walmart has identified energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation, and product use and design as the goal areas in which to focus their Scope 3 climate efforts. Participating suppliers are encouraged to focus their commitment in one or more of these goal areas.

“Through the years, we’ve seen that integrating sustainable practices into our operations improves business performance, spurs technological innovation, inspires brand loyalty, and boosts employee engagement,” said Laura Phillips, senior VP, sustainability for Walmart. “Our suppliers recognize the opportunity to realize those same benefits in their businesses. By working together on such an ambitious goal, we can accelerate progress within our respective companies and deep in our shared supply chains.”

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Albertsons adds new exec position

BY Marianne Wilson

Albertsons Companies has appointed Wayne Denningham, currently executive VP and COO, to the new role of president and COO for Albertsons Companies. Denningham will continue to lead store operations with added oversight of marketing & merchandising, supply chain, manufacturing, and integration, all of which will continue under their current leadership.

“This is the strongest leadership team I've worked with in my 50+ years in this industry,” said Bob Miller, chairman and CEO of Albertsons Companies. “I asked Wayne to join Albertsons LLC in 2006 to lead our Rocky Mountain Division. Since that time, he's led three different divisions, helped to negotiate and manage some of our most significant acquisitions, and successfully turned around some of our toughest assets. He's a remarkable leader with tremendous grocery retail acumen, and I'm pleased that he's accepted this new role.”

Denningham began his career with Albertson's in 1977 as a clerk and worked his way up in the organization. He was named executive VP and COO for the company in April 2015.

Albertsons Companies operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 19 banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs.

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What China Wants: The Five Hottest U.S. Product Categories

BY CSA STAFF

One way for U.S retail companies to win in 2017 is to look beyond their domestic borders for growth. As retail executives implement this year’s business plans, they should consider embracing cross-border e-commerce in China to grow now, and in the future.

China is the world’s largest and fastest-growing e-commerce market. Cross-border e-commerce is experiencing explosive growth due to Chinese consumers’ desire for lower prices and higher-quality products.

According to McKinsey & Company’s report, “Partnering with China’s retailers: A guide for consumer-goods companies,” cross-border e-commerce will account for 9% of China’s total online retail market by 2018, because the process allows foreign brands to serve Chinese consumers without the additional risk and investment in local distribution capabilities.

Several categories of U.S. products face unprecedented demand in China through the convenience of overseas online shopping (OOS). Chinese consumers desire U.S. products and buy specific product categories more than others using cross-border e-commerce.

Top Five

According to iResearch data, the following product categories are most in demand among Chinese shoppers — and represent growth opportunities for U.S. retailers through cross-border e-commerce:

1. Cosmetics and personal care (46%): Chinese shoppers enjoy the superior quality and prestigious status symbols of foreign cosmetics and personal care products. Chinese consumers are choosing to trade up to higher-quality personal-care products, including skin care and beauty, according to Boston Consulting Group. Top-selling U.S. cosmetics and personal care brands in China include Estée Lauder, Kiehl’s and Origins.

2. Mom and baby (39%): Recent cases of food poisoning and poor quality products led Chinese shoppers to increasingly perceive foreign products as safer and more trustworthy. In the infant and baby products category, Chinese consumers are most likely to trade up for superior quality, according to Boston Consulting Group. Best-selling U.S. mom and baby brands include Gerber, Earth’s Best and Carter’s.

3. Nutritional supplements (39%): Similar to the North American market, Chinese consumers have embraced a health and wellness lifestyle, including the consumption of nutritional supplements. GNC, NeoCell and Nature’s Bounty are among best-selling nutritional supplements brands.

4. Fashion and apparel (38%): Consulting firm A.T. Kearney found almost all (97%) Chinese shoppers bought fashion and apparel products online within the previous three months, compared to 87% of American consumers, according to A.T. Kearney. Top-selling American apparel brands include Michael Kors, Guess and Ugg.

5. Digital products (31%): Consumer electronics is a well-established category, with e-commerce reaching 30% of total retail sales in China, according to McKinsey & Company. In search of prestige and superior quality, Chinese consumers purchase such U.S. digital brands as Apple, Jawbone and Monster Inspiration.

U.S. retailers selling products in these in-demand categories can focus on growth — and eliminate common risks of expansion in China — by embracing cross-border e-commerce.

As the U.S. retail market continues to face unpredictable disruption, China will remain a lucrative growth market. American retailers can choose to seize the moment and satisfy strong demand for U.S. products in China by adding cross-border e-commerce to their 2017 business strategy.


Franklin Chu is managing director of e-commerce solutions provider Azoya International.

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