The Institute for Local Self-Reliance issued a scathing report yesterday on Walmart’s sustainability agenda, stating that the company’s PR work on its initiatives serves to mask the fact that Walmart’s impact on climate and the environment is worsening.
Specifically, ILSR found:
- Nearly a decade after launching its sustainability campaign, Walmart’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown substantially and continue to rise.
- When calculating its emissions, Walmart fails to account for major, fast-growing sources of pollution in its operations, including those from international shipping, new store construction and product manufacturing.
- Despite its many media announcements about solar and wind projects, Walmart lags competing chains and many independent retailers in making the switch to renewable power.
- Walmart is a major contributor to the campaigns of lawmakers who are blocking action to address the climate crisis.
Following the release of the report, several major environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, issued an open letter calling on Walmart to make a real, verifiable commitment to help fight climate change. Michael Marx, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil Campaign, said:
“Walmart is failing on climate exactly like it is failing on worker’s rights. The company’s carbon pollution is up 14 percent while it pours millions of dollars into a misleading PR campaign around sustainability and anti-environmental public officials who obstruct solutions to climate disruption. If Walmart wants us to live better it can start by treating its workers with the dignity and respect they deserve and taking real steps to cut carbon pollution.”
Here’s a round-up of the media coverage of the report:
- Walmart’s big green con: Environmentalists blast megastore, as workers strike (Salon): “’Walmart is the epitome of a key trend in our society that needs to change…’ charged Greenpeace USA Executive Director Phil Radford, ‘companies and their executives making billions of dollars by pushing the true cost of their work onto society.’”
- Walmart’s Sustainability Results Don’t Match Promises, Report Finds (Huffington Post): “Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has received positive press in recent years for its promises to go green…But according to a report released Wednesday, Walmart’s green pledges remain more hype than reality.”
- Wal-Mart Said to Fail its Own Post-Katrina Climate Pledge (Bloomberg): “Since 2005, Wal-Mart’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 11 percent, reaching 21 million metric tons per year, according to company data.”
- Report blasts Wal-Mart for greenhouse-gas emissions (Al-Jazeera America): “Through the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. PAC for Responsible Government, Wal-Mart has given over $22 million to politicians who are opposed to legislation that would regulate emissions and promote climate change.”
- Walmart’s carbon emissions soar despite all that green talk (Grist): “Eight years into the retailer’s self-professed love affair with the environment, a new report [PDF] by the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance lays bare its hypocrisy: Walmart is significantly growing its carbon footprint, even as it claims to be reducing it.”