BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart on Thursday launched a new global commitment to sustainable agriculture, saying the effort would help small farmers, provide more food for a growing global population, and encourage sustainable farming practices.
“More than 1 billion people around the world rely on farming and hundreds of millions of them live on less than $2 a day,” Mike Duke, Wal-Mart president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Globally, with a booming population, food production must increase roughly 70% to feed 9 billion people in 2050.”
Duke continued, “Through sustainable agriculture, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a positive difference in food production — for farmers, communities and customers. Our efforts will help increase farmer incomes, lead to more efficient use of pesticides, fertilizer and water, and provide fresher produce for our customers.”
Wal-Mart said it would double its sale of locally sourced produce in the U.S. by 2015 as part of an effort to help small and medium farmers gain access to markets. It said it would sell $1 billion in food from 1 million small and medium farmers by 2015.
The retailer said it would also ask suppliers about water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide they use per unit of food produced, with a goal of accelerating sustainability standards for suppliers and reducing waste.
Wal-Mart also said it would require sustainably sourced palm oil for all Wal-Mart private brand products by 2015 and would expand its practice of only sourcing beef that does not contribute to deforestation in Brazil.