Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Walmart Under Fire for Failing to Meet Climate and Energy Promises

Business
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.

Graphic credit: Institute for Local Self-Reliance

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.

Graphic credit: Institute for Local Self-Reliance

 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.

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch