Wal-Mart Stores President and CEO Doug McMillon announced the company’s new 2025 sustainability targets for food, waste and energy Friday at the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia.
“We actually believe we’re entering into a new era of trust and transparency, and when that light gets shined on Walmart we want to make you feel good about what you see,” said McMillon.
The new goals build on targets Walmart set about 10 years ago.
“As it relates to food, our goal is to become the world’s most affordable retailer of safe and healthier foods by 2025. And we’re going to be transparent about it,” said McMillon.
By 2025, Walmart plans to double the sales of locally grown produce in the U.S. and expand sustainable sourcing of 20 key commodities, such as bananas, grapes, coffee and tea.
In its private label products, the retailer will reduce food additives and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, starting with foods like pasta sauce and salad dressing. McMillon said Walmart would continue to reduce sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in both private brand items and national brand products.
Walmart also pledged to use 100% recyclable packaging of private label food, consumables and health and wellness products, starting with U.S. private brands.
In addition, Walmart will achieve zero waste in four of its larger markets by 2025. Last year, McMillon said the retailer diverted 75% of global waste from landfills in its key markets.
The company also hopes to achieve 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. McMillon said Walmart is the first retailer with approved science-based targets designed to achieve emissions reduction within the company and in its supply chain.
“This flows from the climate meetings in Paris and basically says Walmart’s going to do our part,” said McMillon.
Walmart got 25% of its energy needs from renewable sources last year.
The retailer is also challenging its suppliers to create sustainable products at an affordable price point. In February 2017, Walmart will start selling a $3.88 t-shirt made using 30% reused water, 50% renewable energy and cotton that is traceable to the Mississippi Delta.
“It’s an example of us engineering sustainable quality into a product and being transparent about that product with our customers,” said McMillon.
Although more customers care about what goes into making the products they buy, McMillon acknowledged it’s not a priority for all customers.
“At the end of the day, really what we think is our job is just to do the right thing, even in areas where customers might not see it or some customers might not care and to take our supply chain and what we offer and to create the path of least resistance for them to make a more sustainable choice, so they don’t have to pay more or do something else that they might not normally do,” said McMillon.
At the same time, Walmart’s latest sustainability push is not entirely altruistic.
“The things I talked about today will be good business as well as doing good things for the world, and those are the opportunities that we look for,” said McMillon.
Watch McMillon’s full remarks below: