WASHINGTON – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pledged to take several steps to reduce greenhouse gases as part of a new White House climate change commitment launched Monday in conjunction with 13 corporations.
The Obama administration launched “American Business Act on Climate Pledge” in an effort to enlist the help of the business community to reduce the carbon footprint and stave off climate change.
“They are walking the walk,” said Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Obama, of the major companies pledging to reduce emissions. “They’re making new and concrete commitment to reduce emissions, use more clean energy and take other concrete steps to act on climate within their own businesses.”
In addition to Wal-Mart, several other companies made the pledge, including Alcoa, Apple Inc., Cargill Inc., Coca-Cola Company, General Motors, Microsoft Corporation, Google Inc., United Parcel Service, Bank of America and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
A total of $140 billion in new low-carbon investment was revealed by the companies, in addition to more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy and company-specific goals to cut emissions by as much as 50 percent, reduce water intensity as much as 15 percent, purchase 100 percent renewable energy and pursue a “zero net” deforestation in supply chains, according to a fact sheet.
Last November, Obama made an ambitious commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Wal-Mart said it operated with 9 percent less energy per square foot in 2014 compared with its 2010 baseline, while 26 percent of its electricity used was generated from renewable sources. The retail giant said meeting those goals is “keeping us on track toward our goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”
The company said its set to exceed its goal this year of eliminating 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chains and has reduced the greenhouse gas intensity of its operations for eight consecutive years, which means it is on track to “hold our absolute emissions flat over this decade.”
Wal-Mart made several new pledges on Monday, including: driving the production of 7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy globally by the end of 2020, an increase of more than 600 percent against a 2010 baseline and doubling the number of on-site solar energy projects at its U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers by 2020, compared with a 2013 baseline. It also committed to reduce the total kilowatt per square foot energy intensity required to power its buildings globally by 20 percent by 2020 and gain increasing visibility into key metrics regarding yields, water usage and greenhouse gases in its food supply chains by 2025. The company said it is currently working with suppliers representing 70 percent of its food sales to report their yields, water and footprints “all the way back to the farm.”
Wal-Mart will also establish joint agricultural partnerships with 17 suppliers, cooperatives and service providers on 23 million acres of land in the U.S. and Canada, with the potential to reduce 11 million metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2020. The company also committed to achieving “zero net deforestation” in product sourcing by 2020.
Fully implemented, Obama’s Climate Action Plan will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount “equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than four years.”