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Walmart’s new sustainability roadmap includes focus on renewable energy

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is setting some lofty goals for itself on such critical issues as sustainability and job creation.

In remarks Friday at the Net Impact Conference, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon outlined a "new roadmap" that will guide the company’s role in society on critical issues during the next several years, and pointed to a “new era of trust and transparency.”

On the sustainability front, the chain is doubling sales of locally grown produce in the U.S.; expanding and enhancing sustainable sourcing to cover 20 key commodities, including bananas, coffee and tea; and implementing a new plan designed to achieve science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Walmart said it is the first retailer with an emissions-reduction plan approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015. Under the approved plan, the discounter will use a combination of energy-efficiency measures, together with a commitment to source half of the company’s energy needs from renewable sources, to achieve an 18% emissions reduction in its own operations by 2025.

Additionally, Walmart will work with suppliers to reduce emissions by 1 Gigaton by 2030, equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads and highways for a year.

In his remarks, McMillon discussed company programs that will train hundreds of thousands of U.S. associates by the end of next year, which he said will provide them with skills needed to move from entry-level positions to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay. He also committed the chain to take a leadership role in promoting ethical recruitment and treatment of workers in the global retail supply chain.

Taken together, the initiatives are designed to make good on the company’s desire to become the most trusted retailer, not just by delivering affordable goods and a time-saving shopping experience, but with trust-building transparency and actions, McMillon said.

“We want to make sure Walmart is a company that our associates and customers are proud of – and that we are always doing right by them and by the communities they live in,” McMillon said. “That’s really what these commitments are about.”

Here is more detailed information on Walmart’s new commitments:

• Power half of the company’s energy from renewable sources under a plan designed to achieve science-based emissions targets: In 2015, 25% of Walmart’s operations were powered by renewable energy, a significant step towards the 2005 goal. Going forward, the company will source half of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2025, as part of a plan designed to achieve science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

• Achieve zero waste to landfill in key markets by 2025: Progress so far has been significant on the original goal. In 2015, 75% of Walmart’s global waste was diverted from landfills, helping to reduce costs to the business, customers and society.

Under the roadmap, the company will achieve zero waste to landfill from our own operations in key markets, including the U.S., U.K., Japan, and Canada by 2025. The commitment is designed to meet or exceed EPA zero waste guidelines. Walmart will also continue working to reduce landfill waste in all markets, moving as fast as infrastructure and best practices allow.

• Further its efforts to afford a good experience for the thousands of people who come to the retailer for their first job. Associates will be provided with workplace mobility — a good start, new skills and a clear path to grow and succeed — whether or not they remain with the company. Walmart recently signed on to the White House First Jobs Compact, a nationwide effort to help connect out-of-school, out-of-work youth to their first jobs.

• Provide a clear path for career advancement: By 2025, Walmart U.S. will put millions of associates through focused training programs to equip them with skills to improve career growth, from entry level positions to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay.

• Predictability, stability and pay: Walmart is committed to improving predictability in the lives of its associates by providing work schedules more than two weeks in advance in the U.S.; as well as implementing a strong leave policy that empowers associates to decide how to use their paid time off based on individual needs.

• Improve the lives of people in communities: Walmart will source more products locally around the world, including $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023 and $20 billion in products from women-owned businesses in the U.S. by the end of this year.

• The retailer also committed to donating 4 billion meals to fight hunger by 2020 and, over five years, to contributing $25 million towards disaster relief and resiliency around the world.

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Saks Fifth Avenue continues brick-and-mortar expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Saks Fifth Avenue has opened its third location in Miami, and seventh location year to date, at the just opened Brickell City Centre in the city’s financial district.

The 107,550-sq.-ft. full-line Saks store offers a curated selection of both women’s and men’s categories, including several exclusive brands. An in-store open kitchen and marketplace — Casa Tua Cucina — is planned to open next spring. Also coming next spring is an outpost of John Allan’s, a premier men’s grooming club based in New York. The club will provide customers with hairstyling and shave services in a lifestyle environment featuring a bar and pool table.

“Saks Brickell City Centre marks our seventh new store this year, demonstrating Saks’ dedication to investing in the brick-and-mortar experience in our key markets,” said Marc Metrick, president, Saks Fifth Avenue. “Our third store in Miami deepens Saks’ dominance in the market, while at the same time is a distinct lifestyle destination for the downtown Miami customer.”

The store, designed by Saks in partnership with Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates, features a warm palette, accented with neutral tones, rich textures and unexpected pops of color. A three-story sculptural wall crafted by JP Metals Global unites the departments in the luxurious and timeless style Saks is known for.

Both the second and third levels feature commissioned hand-cast glass sculptures, which originate in the men’s area on the third level and cascade down to level two, weaving into the 10022-SHOE salon. The intricate design elements play off the clean, crisp lines of the overall store design.

“Saks is a timeless and iconic brand and we could not have chosen a better partner to take center stage as Brickell City Centre's anchor tenant,” said Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties, the developer of Brickell City Centre.

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Searching for Cubs championship gear? Look no further than Uber

BY CSA STAFF

Uber wants to put championship gear commemorating the Cubs’ World Series victory into fans’ hands as quickly as possible.

Through a partnership with licensed sports merchandise e-retailer Fanatics, Uber launched a program that enables Cubbies fans to purchase championship hats and t-shirts directly through the ride-hailing app, according to Recode.

By clicking on the app’s “CHAMPS” option, baseball fans can order merchandise and an Uber car will deliver it within minutes.

To read more, click here.

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