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Walmart Meets 20% Emissions Reduction Goal a Year Early

Walmart announced it has achieved its objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all facilities built before 2005 a year earlier than expected.

In 2009, Walmart CEO Mike Duke announced at the company’s semi-annual Sustainability Milestones Meeting that it was on track to meeting 36 of the 37 energy and environmental goals set four years earlier. The lone goal the company lagged on was the one it has now met ahead of schedule.

Emissions data from 2011 showed a more than 20 percent drop in GHGs from its 2005 baseline. However, Walmart’s overall emissions have increased during the same period from 19 million to 22 million tons of carbon dioxide due to global expansion.

The retailer says it has met emissions goals primarily through renewable energy. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership ranks Walmart as the fifth-largest user of clean energy in the U.S., although only 4 percent of its power comes from renewable sources. The company’s sheer size means it consumes more than 751,000 megawatts of power each year.

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Last month, the company announced a goal to eliminate 20 million metric tons of GHGs from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. The amount is equal to one and a half times Walmart’s expected total carbon footprint growth during the same period. The retailer says it has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a global supply-chain approach to reducing emissions.

Walmart also recently said is has worked with SolarCity to install solar panels in 12 stores throughout the state of Ohio, adding close to 6 million kilowatts of energy, or enough to power more than 820 homes. The installations are expected to supply 5 to 20 percent of each store’s overall energy.

“Energy efficiency and carbon reduction are central issues in the world today,” said Mike Duke, Walmart president and CEO. “We’ve been working to make a difference in these areas, both in our own footprint and our supply chain. We know that we have an opportunity to do more and the capacity to do more.”

Last year the company released a CSR report highlighting progress on goals for reducing waste, increasing locally grown produce and developing sustainability rankings for its products.