Walmart Asia achieves key sustainability goals in 2012
INDIACSR News Network
HONG KONG: “The Walmart Energy Efficiency program, started in 2009, has had a compelling impact on over 200 direct sourcing and private label factories in China through engagement and sharing of best practices within our supplier community. These factories have cut their energy consumption by a minimum of 20% as of December 2012, saving approximately 2.168 billion kWh, a number equivalent to powering 1.46 million homes for an entire year,”said Scott Price, CEO & President of Walmart Asia at the Asia release of Walmart’s sixth annual Global Responsibility Report (GRR) entitled “Responsibility to Lead”.
The GRR report encompasses Walmart’s global environmental, social and corporate responsibility efforts throughout the world. As one of Walmart’s most important markets, Asia has contributed significantly to the success of Walmart’s responsibility efforts in 2012, highlighted by milestone achievements in energy savings, food safety, hunger alleviation, and women’s economic empowerment.
As part of the Energy Efficiency Program, Walmart and its partners offered training, organized roundtables, shared best practices and engaged regularly with suppliers throughout the process. The project was also supported by Hong Kong Productivity Council, a Hong Kong based government organization who’s International Performance and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) was adopted as the initiative’s data analysis methodology. The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), an environmental NGO that aims to curb environmental pollution in China’s manufacturing hubs, also took part in the program. Based on the successful results, IPE recently ranked Walmart in the top-three amongst international and local companies that improve environmental compliance in the supply chain in China.
“We’re very proud of our supplier community for accepting this challenge and meeting it head on. Going forward, this is certainly a program we will look to expand on within our network of suppliers,” both in China and worldwide,stated Price.
Other key achievements in Asia
Food safety in China – As part of a sustained effort to ensure the safety of its fresh and packaged food products, Walmart China launched the China Mobile Lab program, a first of its kind initiative that outfits customized vans with highly advanced food safety inspection technology, and staffs them with specialists trained in food science and technology, biology, chemistry and agriculture. Currently,the Program covers 33 stores in Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen.
Price added,“Previously, this kind of technology was hidden away in laboratories. In order to conduct tests, items were brought to one of these facilities, taking up a great deal of time and resources. Now, we can literally drive up to one of our stores and conduct a world-class test in a matter of minutes.”
Environmental responsibility – Through energy reduction initiatives, the sourcing of renewable energy and the training of its associates on energy best practices, Walmart stores in China and Japan reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 11.3% and 20% respectively by the end of 2012 compared to a 2005 baseline. One recent example includes the installation of a roof-mounted solar system at Walmart’s store in Xiangmi Lake, Shenzhen, which now provides an estimated 18% of all of its electricity needs. In India, LED lighting has been installed in all cash and carry car parks while solar water heaters have been employed for washing and cleaning purposes.
Walmart has also championed a reduction in the use of plastic bags, achieving significant results against a 2005 baseline. By the end of 2012, Walmart reported an 86%, 90% and 40% decrease in the consumption of plastic bags in China, India and Japan respectively.
Food donation – Learning from its “Fighting Hunger Together” campaign in the U.S., Walmart Japan partnered with Second Harvest Japan, the longest-running food bank NGO in the country, to donate food from Walmart stores to local welfare facilities. In 2012, by utilizing backhaul, Walmart expanded its donation activities to 38 stores in the Kanto area from eight in 2011. In total,over 58,000food items were donated during the year. In addition to donating food, Walmart launched an in-store fundraising campaign in July 2012,to further support Second Harvest Japan in its food bank activities.
Women’s Economic Empowerment – Walmart takes a leadership role in educating women and sourcing from women-owned businesses as a means of promoting improved living standards for entire families and communities. In 2012, Walmart partnered with the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) to further fund its Walmart Women’s Development Fund with a donation of RMB 2 million (over USD 320,000). The fund provides Chinese women in need with financial support they can use to start their own business or enhance their employment skills. Also in 2012, Walmart Japan contributed through grants and in-store fundraising activities to Jespere, a nonprofit organization that supports mothers affected by the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and earthquake. Thus far, the Tohoku Kosodate project has helped over 2,600 mothers through consultative sessions by professional midwives and home visits offering medical or psychological support.
In India, Bharti Walmart operates 18 training centers where to-date, over 21,000 previously un-employable youth have received training free-of-charge, opening up employment opportunities in leading companies, including Bharti Walmart and Bharti Retail. Overall, 33% of the students certified through these programs have been female. Also in India, Bharti Walmart has helped educate over 20,000 underprivileged students,75% of them female,by adopting 50 schools and providing water filters, school furniture, stationery and school bags to schoolchildren.
“In addition to our charitable work in this area, Walmart Asia has taken a systematic approach to establishing a strong pipeline of female leadership, setting up Women in Leadership Councils in each market. The goal is to increase female talent by 30 to 40 per cent,” added Price. “In Japan, the Female Leadership Program we launched in 2010 has already ensured that 22% of senior leaders in Japan are female, more than double the national average of 9%.”
Anthony Rose, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Walmart Asia added, “Walmart is committed to its responsibility efforts and across Asia, we will continue to focus on meaningful programs. For example in India, we have set a target of empowering 100,000 women by 2016 through targeted interventions in education, training, sourcing from female-owned businesses and philanthropy. In Japan, we will expand our food donation activities to 150 participating stores by 2016.”
“The responsibility we carry to make meaningful social and sustainability contributions is uppermost on our minds as we plan for the future,” concluded Price.