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Wal-Mart Announces Sustainability Commitment

Earlier this afternoon Wal-Mart announced a new sustainability initiative to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by 2015.

According to Wal-Mart's press release concerning the announcement, the resulting reduction in carbon emissions would equal that of removing 3.8 million cars from the road and represents 1.5 times their carbon growth for the next 5 years.

Wal-Mart worked closely with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in the creation of the plan.

How Wal-Mart Plans To Meet Their Goal

To achieve Wal-Mart's ambitious sustainability commitment, they plan to reduce not only their own carbon emissions, but also to hold the supplier companies who form part of their global supply chain accountable for their environmental impact.

Wal-Mart plans to initially confront the suppliers whose products have the biggest carbon footprint throughout their lifecycle and/or whose products are the most popular in the retail giant's stores.

The EDF says that this sustainability plan will hold companies accountable that aren't otherwise required to reduce emissions by national or international regulations. The enormity of Wal-Mart in size and the global corporation's influence will (hopefully) make this commitment possible:

"When Wal-Mart asks, suppliers jump," Noah Harowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council said in response to Wal-Mart's 2008 plans for environmental and health reform.

But Walmart is, after all, a profit-driven corporation and by making its suppliers more energy efficient, they also hope to lower the price of the products they buy and subsequently sell to their customers.

Update: Tree Hugger has a good Q&A with Wal-Mart SVP of Sustainability Matt Kisler about the proposed plans.

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