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03/21/2022

Walmart joins food waste initiative

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart is joining an effort to combat food waste on the West Coast.

Walmart is building on its efforts to increase food sustainability.

The discount giant is joining the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment (PCFWC), a public-private partnership focused on reducing food waste on the U.S. West Coast. Walmart’s U.S. business has publicly committed to support and work toward PCFWC's goal to reduce and prevent food waste by 50% along the West Coast by 2030 as a climate change solution.

As the number one seller of groceries along the West Coast and across the U.S., Walmart's data on food loss and waste throughout their operations in the region (which will be anonymized and aggregated with data from the PCFWC's other retail participants) will help provide a more precise estimate of waste across the entire retail sector and allow a more accurate identification of key waste "hot spots" to target.

Other retailers supporting the PCFWC include Albertsons Companies West Coast division, which includes stores such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions; The Kroger Co.; PCC Community Markets; New Seasons Market; Raley's; and Sprouts Farmers Markets.

Walmart's participation in the PCFWC builds on other sustainability efforts by the retailer, and aligns with its goals under Project Gigaton, a company-wide effort to work with its suppliers to reduce or avoid one gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions from the global value chain by 2030.

[Read more: Walmart sets big new goal: Zero emissions by 2040]

In addition, Walmart has engaged in a number of corporate food sustainability initiatives. Recent examples include a commitment to begin purchasing Pacific Island Tuna (PIT) products for Walmart’s in-house brand, Great Value. Pacific Island Tuna is a new partnership between nonprofit The Nature Conservancy and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, with a portion of the profits anticipated to be directed back to Pacific Island communities. The initiative has been set up to deliver environmental, labor and traceability standards.

And Walmart Canada will purchase what the company says is the largest known quantity of beef from certified sustainable Canadian farms and ranches ever sourced by a single retailer in Canada, in accordance with sustainability standards set by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB).

The PCFWC is aligned with the "U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions" program from the USDA and EPA, as well as global efforts, such as World Resources Institute's "10x20x30" initiative, which brings together 10 of the world's biggest food retailers (including Walmart) and providers to each engage with 20 of their priority suppliers to halve rates of food loss and waste by 2030. All of these efforts were implemented to drive action to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which details targets for food waste reduction around the world.

"We are proud to support the PCFWC in this effort to reduce food waste,” said Jane Ewing, senior VP, sustainability at Walmart. “At Walmart, reducing waste has been a point of focus for many years. Since 2019 we have sold 862 million food units through food discount programs. In CY2020, we donated more than 745 million pounds of food globally. Better data can identify scalable ways for us to accelerate these efforts further, and it is incumbent on retailers like Walmart to join efforts such as the PCFWC to address these systemic issues.”