CEOs from more than a dozen global companies were in Bentonville yesterday to sign “new commitments that accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture and recycling” at the opening of its inaugural Sustainable Product Expo.
Together, the participating suppliers represent more than $100 billion in sales at Walmart, said the world’s leading retailer.
“Walmart and our suppliers recognize that collaboration is the key to bringing sustainable solutions to all of our customers,” said Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart Stores, Inc. “A great deal of innovative work is happening every day, but there are still too many gaps and missed opportunities. Today’s commitments are about creating real systems change from one end of the supply chain to the other — meaning how products are grown and made, how they’re transported and sold, and how we touch the lives of people along the way.”
According to Walmart, eight of the largest food companies announced pledges to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is affordable and sustainable for the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. The commitments aim to drive more collaboration and efficiency across the current food system.
Additionally, companies joined with Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in announcing plans to launch a groundbreaking recycling initiative called the Closed Loop Fund, with the goal of making recycling available to all Americans. The Fund aims to invest $100 million in recycling infrastructure projects and spur private and public funding for transforming the recycling system in the United States.
Also, in household care specifically, Procter & Gamble, Walmart announced a commitment to a 25% percent reduction in water per dose for all liquid laundry detergent, said Walmart.
In addition to executives form leading food companies like Kellogg, Coca-Cola and Keurig Green Montain, others executives in Bentonville, included:
Kees Kruythoff, president, North America for Unilever; A.G. Lafley, chairman of the board, president, and CEO, Procter & Gamble; and Roberto Marques, company group chairman, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Family of Companies, North America.
NGOs were also on hand, including Fred Krupp, president, Environmental Defense Fund; Carter Roberts, president and CEO, World Wildlife Fund; and Peter Seligmann, chairman, CEO and co-founder, Conservation International.
Walmart also previewed plans to create a sustainability store on walmart.com. The shopping portal, expected to launch by the end of 2014, will allow customers to easily identify brands that are leading sustainability within a category via a special icon.