Walmart Under Fire for Failing to Meet Climate and Energy Promises
A Washington DC organization simply can't forget what the country's largest employer said in 2005.
That's when Walmart Stores Inc. pledged to be a leader in environmental sustainability amid the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Eight years later, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) issued a report stating that Walmart didn't live up to that promise and ultimately used it to manipulate the media and transform its image.
Senior ILSR researcher Stacy Mitchell says the company's greenhouse gas emissions rose since then and that it continues to measure them improperly, leaving out emissions caused by international shipping and land development.
“Rather than allocate resources to reduce emissions, Walmart has launched a publicity campaign that boasts of solar installations while green-washing the true environmental costs of its business model,” Mitchell said in a statement.
The ILSR report also compares Walmart to industry rivals, showing that it lags behind the likes of Kohl's, Best Buy and Target, despite a 1.3 percent reduction in emissions last year. The ILSR makes its case by looking at greenhouse gas emissions intensity, or the the volume of pollution the company produces per $1 million in sales.
"Walmart’s emissions intensity—45 metric tons of CO2e per $1 million in sales—is higher than that of competing chains, including Costco (16 metric tons) and Target (42 metric tons)," the report reads. "Costco’s emissions intensity is only about one-third of Walmart’s, in part because Costco’s high-wage workforce generates more sales per square foot and therefore uses less energy to produce the same revenue.
"Not only has Walmart failed to reduce its climate pollution, but earlier this year, the company indicated that it will continue to increase the amount of carbon dioxide it is pumping into the atmosphere through 2020 and beyond.
The report points out that 4 percent of Walmart's power comes from renewable sources and charges that the company is only on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's top 10 list because its size as the nation's largest employer.
Walmart responded to the report, denouncing its claims.
“The results speak for themselves—we’re showing that we can grow our business while slowing our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the supply chain, make renewable energy more affordable and serve our customers for generations to come,” company spokeswoman Tara Raddohl told Bloomberg.
The company also told Bloomberg that it met a goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 20 percent at its existing stores and boosted the mileage efficiency of its fleet of trucks. It predicts that it its overall emissions will be down by 2020, despite growing the number and size of its stores.
Still, its greenhouse gas emissions grew 11 percent since that post-Katrina promise, reaching 21 million metric tons per year.
“It’s not willing to adjust the core aspects of its business model,” Mitchell said. “Despite its 2005 pledge, Walmart has not become a climate leader.”
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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