Walmart Continues to Strengthen Global Supply Chain Sustainability with new Commitment to Advance Factory Energy Efficiency in China

In the summer of 2014, Walmart announced a new commitment to further strengthen the sustainability of its global supply chain by advancing the energy efficiency of its China-based manufacturers. The commitment states that suppliers representing 70 percent of Walmart’s business sourced in China will be invited to participate in an energy efficiency program by the end of 2017. As a result, Walmart forecasts significant potential savings over the next 3 years. An improvement in energy efficiency by 10 percent would translate to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 1.5 million metric tons; that is the equivalent of powering more than one million homes per year in China. To date, 40 factories in China have participated in the 2014 pilot program, and approximately 500 factories will be invited to participate in the program by the end of 2017. In order to reach the 2017 goal set forth for China-based manufacturers, Walmart will assist in providing tools and resources that will help suppliers identify energy efficient projects tailored for each facility, coordinating relevant training when needed to overcome barriers with implementation. Walmart will also track overall project performance and impact.

Since 2008 Walmart has successfully implemented an energy efficiency program in its China facilities, resulting in a 20 percent energy reduction in 210 factories and $279 million savings in energy costs.

Additional recent milestones achieved in Walmart’s China operations include:

Investing in LED Technology: Over the past two years, Walmart has invested more than $16 million to add LED technology to China facilities, avoiding 33,000 tons of CO2 emissions. These use 35 to 50 percent less energy than conventional fluorescent light bulbs commonly used in the retail industry.

Reducing Energy Consumption: Walmart recently retrofitted refrigerators at 250 of its China stores with glass doors, reducing energy consumption by nearly 30 percent. In new stores, Walmart introduced next-generation refrigerators with glass doors, avoiding 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

Expanding The Sustainability Consortium: In 2012, Walmart announced a $2 million grant to launch The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) in China – an independent research organization that engages industries, universities and other experts from around the globe to develop measurement and reporting systems for product sustainability across consumer goods. The TSC also facilitates ongoing innovation, research and collaboration to continue to advance a green supply chain.

Increasing Use of Solar Energy: In 2011, Walmart completed the installation of a roof-mounted solar system at the Walmart Xiangmihu store in Shenzhen, which was the first non-state-owned solar power project under China’s Golden Sun Solar Program, as a result of generating 35,000 kWh monthly.

Solar panels at the Walmart Xiangmihu store in Shenzhen (© China Smart Construction Group)