Walmart: Reporting through CDP revealed valuable insight into its greenhouse gas footprint…


The CDP Walmart partnership, formed in September 2007, reflected the US based retail group’s decision to use CDP’s process to encourage companies in its supply chain to report climate change related information. An initial pilot scheme incorporated seven of Walmart’s supply sectors: DVDs, toothpaste, soap, beer, milk, vacuum cleaners and soda products. These sectors were selected because they are commonly used and benefit from high levels of supply engagement.

Prior to the partnership, Jim Stanway, Walmart's Director, Project Development, acknowledged how completion of CDP’s 2006 questionnaire had provided the company with “valuable insight” including the fact that the refrigerants used in grocery stores accounted for a larger percentage of Walmart’s greenhouse gas footprint than its truck fleet. Such insight had served to focus Walmart on the potential for reduction of its “refrigerant footprint.”

Walmart's supply chain network encompasses more than 60,000 suppliers across hundreds of sectors and the global retailer was the first corporation to work with CDP in order to establish an emissions strategy for its entire supply chain.

Speaking at CDP’s 2007 Global Launch in New York, John Fleming, Chief Merchandising Officer of Walmart, pointed out that New England based Oakhurst Dairy, one of the company’s milk suppliers, had not only examined in-house emissions but had also focused on its own supply chain’s carbon footprints. According to Fleming, this “succession of analysis” signals “the formation of a unified business response to climate change engaging all stages of production."

Most recently in 2009 Walmart announced the creation of a sustainability index to bring about a more transparent supply chain. Walmart will be asking its suppliers to answer 15 questions on the sustainable practices of their companies, around four key areas, including Energy and Climate. Walmart is sending a strong message to its suppliers of the benefits in measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and has selected the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as the standard system for suppliers to report through. Of the 15 questions in the index, one will ask suppliers if they respond to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

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