Walmart Canada's Sustainability Challenge Bears Fruit

Walmart Canada's Sustainability Challenge Bears Fruit

In February, Walmart Canada convened 300 of the country's largest corporations for a green business summit to challenge those firms to set tough new goals for reducing their environmental impacts. The CEOs of 24 companies signed a commitment to launch a "major sustainability project" in the course of the next year to meet Walmart's challenge.

Now, six months later, seven firms across a range of industries from consumer packaged goods to home improvement stores have posted updates on their progress in meeting their self-imposed sustainability commitments.

The updates, published on ShareGreen.ca, offer an impressive slice of the ways that companies can save significant money while at the same time reducing their greenhouse gas emissions or other environmental impacts.

Presented below are a snapshot of the results from each of the seven firms' sustainability commitments. The companies are:

  • Frito Lay Canada
  • Hallmark Canada
  • The Home Depot Canada
  • Kraft Canada
  • Kruger Products LP
  • Nature's Grilling
  • and Walmart Canada

Frito-Lay Canada posted an update on the adoption of its 100 percent compostable snack chip packaging, an innovation the company had previously launched in the United States, but which first hit Canadian shelves in March. As of August 2010, Frito Lay Canada expects to sell 17 million compostable bags per year from its SunChips line, and is working on other green packaging initiatives for its other chip brands.

Hallmark Canada committed to a comprehensive energy conservation project, one that builds on the company's 20-year-long energy conservation program. The overall program has cut Hallmark's energy use by 25 percent since 1990, and in 2010, the company converted 1,600 light fixtures in its Toronto headquarters to 25-watt fluorescent tubes. Eight months into the project, the building has already cut its energy use by 9.6 percent.

The Home Depot Canada has set a five-year goal to reduce its Canadian store energy use by 20 percent and GHG emissions by 20 percent by 2015. The company is using a two-pronged effort to achieve its goals: Energy efficiency upgrades in all stores, and logistics efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of its supply chain. Home Depot Canada's update says it is on track to meet those targets.

Kraft Canada (NYSE:KFT) committed to addressing waste from its food packaging, and while it searches for alternatives akin to Frito Lay's, the company partnered with TerraCycle to upcycle its wrappers into new products, including tote bags, umbrellas, shower curtains, backpacks and many other products.

Kruger Products, a manufacturer of tissue products for consumer, commercial and industrial use, committed to reducing its energy use and GHGs by 15 percent in five years. The company started its "2015 Commitment" by installing a heat recovery system in its Gatineau, Quebec, paper mill. The system, which will be installed by October 2010, will reduce the mill's emissions by 10,000 metric tons, a 14.4 percent decrease per year over a 2009 baseline.

Nature's Grilling Products committed to installing a solar energy system on its new company headquarters, and also laid out goals for using sustainably sourced charcoal for grilling products, running a plant on biofuel from sawdust, and committed to planting 1,000 trees in Ethiopia for every $10,000 of products purchased by Walmart.

Finally, Walmart Canada (NYSE: WMT) laid out its sustainable seafood goals in 2010, which require the company to have all its fresh and frozen wild-caught fish comply with the Marine Stewardship Council's standard or its equivalent, by 2013, to source farmed fish from suppliers that adhere to Best Aquaculture Practices by 2013, and to source all canned tuna from an International Seafood Sustainability Foundation member by 2013.

For a full list of the companies that have committed to Walmart Canada's sustainability challenge, visit ShareGreen.ca.