Operating more than 11,200 retail units under 55 banners in 27 countries around the globe and employing approximately 2.2 million associates worldwide – 1.5 million in the U.S. alone -, Walmart envisions a world where people will not have to choose between energy they can afford and renewable energy that is better for the planet.
This case study is based on the 2017 Global Responsibility Report by Walmart published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.
AbstractWalmart has set a goal to power 50% of its operations with renewable energy by 2025 Tweet This!, through both onsite installations and purchases from external providers. In order to expand the use of clean energy at its stores Walmart took action to:
- promote the use of solar energy
- invest in energy storage
- provide electric vehicle charging stations
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Walmart has identified;
- How Walmart proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Walmart to expand the use of clean energy at its stores
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2017 Global Responsibility Report Walmart identified a range of material issues, such as supporting small and local farmers, reducing emissions in operations, conserving land, supporting measurement and disclosure in the supply chain, investing in communities. Among these, expanding the use of clean energy at its stores stands out as a key material issue for Walmart.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups Walmart engages with:
How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues
To identify and prioritise material topics Walmart engaged its stakeholders in dialogues, interviews, working sessions and surveys, including a 1,750-respondent survey conducted by Sustainalytics.
In its 2017 Global Responsibility Report Walmart reports that it took the following actions for expanding the use of clean energy at its stores:
- Promoting the use of solar energy
- By the end of FY2017, Walmart had 364 onsite solar installations in the U.S., and is committed to having at least 480 by 2020. In addition, in FY2017 Walmart India, seeking to expand the use of rooftop solar power to 90% of its buildings, commissioned photovoltaic (PV) solar rooftops for 15 Best Price stores through a power-purchase agreement with a leading renewable energy supplier. These new installations are expected to cover almost half of Walmart India’s electricity needs. Moreover, Walmart’s South African business, Massmart, has also been piloting commercially viable renewable energy projects, at select standalone stores.
- Investing in energy storage
- Walmart increasingly invests in energy storage and, in partnership with Tesla, a pioneer of advanced battery technologies, completed major energy storage projects in 18 of its stores in California, which included the installation of mega-batteries linked to onsite solar installations. Six of these energy storage systems have also been designed to provide backup power, in the event of a utility grid power outage.
- Providing electric vehicle charging stations
- Walmart had, by the end of FY2017, added electric vehicle charging stations to over 90 sites across the U.S., bringing its total to more than 300 stations. Almost 20% of these charging stations are 50kW (480 V) DC Fast Charging Stations – the fastest type of public charging available today -, and will charge a typical electric vehicle to approximately 80% of its battery capacity in 30 minutes. Walmart’s partner, EVgo, is additionally recording positive feedback from Walmart’s customers, through independent mobile apps for electric vehicle drivers.
Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?
The GRI Standard addressed in this case is:
Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization corresponds to:
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Business theme: Energy efficiency, Renewable energy
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Business theme: Energy efficiency
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Business theme: Energy efficiency, Transport
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- Business theme: Energy efficiency
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1) This case study is based on published information by Walmart, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:
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