Walmart Sustainability Issues and Their Solutions


Walmart, Inc. is experienced in the retail and industrial sectors; the company provides a wide range of products and services at discounted prices. Outside of the United States, Walmart International handles superstores, grocery stores, supercenters, mass merchants, and cash and carries (O’Connell, B., 2020). The Walmart Effect has certain advantages; it can assist in combatting inflation under control and staff efficiency at an optimal level (MartĂ­nez, A. B., GalvĂĄn, R. S., & Alam, S., 2017). A shop chain can save customers billions of dollars, but it can also lower salaries and competitiveness in a region. Walmart offers lower cost, higher quality, and more company and stakeholders than its competitors. While the closings of competitor businesses provide heartfelt hard-luck storylines, the transition to Walmart is advantageous to society since Walmart is actually more efficient at every step of its operation.

What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability, in its broadest meaning, relates to the capability to continue or maintain a system across time. Sustainability in business and policy refers to the goal of preventing the depletion of natural or physical resources so that they can be used indefinitely (Moore, J. E., Mascarenhas, A., Bain, J., & Straus, S. E., 2017). As a result, sustainable policies place a premium on the long-term impact of any particular policy or corporate practice on people, ecosystems, and the economy as a whole (Creighton, R., Jestratijevic, I., & Lee, D., 2022). The concept is frequently associated with the belief that unless significant changes are made to the way the world is managed, it will suffer irreversible damage (Brockhaus, S., Fawcett, S. E., Knemeyer, A. M., & Fawcett, A. M., 2017). As public awareness of global warming and climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution has grown, the globe has begun to embrace responsible strategies and regulations, primarily through the adoption of sustainable corporate practices and significant investments in renewable technology.

How Does Sustainability Work?

The financial dimension, in this context, refers to the preservation of natural resources that supply physical inputs for economic activity, including both continuous and easily accessible materials. The notion of environmental protection places a more significant emphasis on the backup systems that must be sustained for economic activity or human existence to take place, such as the air or soil (Ives, C. D., Abson, D. J., Von Wehrden, H., Dorninger, C., Klaniecki, K., & Fischer, J., 2018). On the other hand, social sustainability is concerned with the human consequences of economic systems and involves efforts to alleviate hunger and poverty and fight injustice.

Why Is Sustainability Important?

People survive in accordance with the environment and surroundings in a sustainable future, preserving the planet for future generations so that everyone experiences progressive politics and a good standard of living. Sustainability enhances their quality of life while also safeguarding their ecosystem and environmental assets for succeeding generations (Freidberg, S., 2020). In the business world, sustainability is linked to a company’s holistic approach, which considers everything from manufacturing to transportation to customer service (Yadav, N., & Veettil, N. M. K., 2021). Going green and sustainable is not only good for business; it also enhances the long-term advantages of an ecological focus.

Long-term energy costs are significantly reduced as a result of sustainable company operations. Some fast actions, such as changing to electric lighting on a production plan, can save money in the long run. Monthly service charges are reduced by using solar and wind energy and energy-efficient equipment. Reduced energy usage is beneficial to businesses since it allows them to become more competitive. In the long run, more excellent water and air quality, fewer landfills, and more renewable energy sources benefit their society. Actions that are sustainable help to make a significant change in society (Ahn, Y., 2017). Being devoted to sustainability will lower the ecological footprint and the level of contaminants discharged into rivers, making it safer for everyone. When people promote sustainable development, the natural world benefits and lives in cleaner, healthier conditions.

Walmart’s Sustainability Issue

Walmart has made an effort to establish itself as a leader in business environmental stewardship. Walmart promotes its renewable power, sustainable farming, reducing waste, and item advancement initiatives (Neebe, K., 2020). Walmart’s environmental drive has improved the company’s public image, but it has done little to help the environment (Clayton, T., & Radcliffe, N., 2018). Walmart’s environmental effect has only gotten worse in recent years. Its business activities are still highly toxic, and its growth strategy and centralization have come at the cost of more environmentally friendly enterprises and manufacturing and distribution structures.

Walmart pulls down the strength and reliability of consumer items by seeking ever-lower pricing from its suppliers. Clothing, refrigerators, computers, and other items wear out more quickly than ever before. This has accelerated the flow of things from manufacturer to crash, resulting in a massive increase in the volume of goods purchased and discarded by Americans. The problem of short-lived commodities and the corresponding rise in waste produced is not addressed in Walmart’s sustainability initiative. The benefits of the company’s well-publicized store trash reduction program and its supply-chain energy-saving plan. Walmart’s shops are insignificant in comparison to the number of harmful emissions generated by the fast-paced purchasing that Walmart promotes.

Walmart gets only a tiny portion of the electricity it uses from sustainable power and solar energy initiatives. Walmart’s declared aim of 100 percent renewable energy will take decades to attain at its current rate. Many independent stores, including Kohl’s and Whole Foods, have made the switch to renewable energy. Walmart, which reported operational profit, blamed its poor progress in sustainable power because it has been challenging to find and finance low-carbon solutions that match the profitability commitment standards, according to its global responsibility disclosures.

Despite its professed approach to sustainability, Walmart continues to build massive, low-rise supercenters to optimize its land use. Walmart has increased its store footprint by one-third in the United States, adding over a thousand supercenters (Clinton, L., & Whisnant, R., 2019). The majority of these establishments were constructed on formerly undeveloped terrain, which included vital habitats for threatened and endangered species in some instances (Gillem, M., 2018). Rather than redeveloping derelict greyfield retail establishments, Walmart has chosen to construct on virgin land in many areas. Many Walmart stores in the United States are currently vacant, having been evacuated when the company built a bigger supercenter neighboring (Smith, C., & Crawford, R. J., 2017). Walmart’s methods have a substantial environmental impact, resulting in issues like habitat loss, environmental pollution from public parking discharge, sprawl, excessive driving, and air quality.

While Walmart has categorically announced that it supports solving severe environmental challenges such as climate change, its political contributions show an entirely different strategy. Walmart’s sustainability program, on the other hand, makes no mention of land usage. Walmart is one of the country’s most generous corporate financial backers. Its funds strongly support candidates that routinely vote against the environment, including a number of leading global warming doubters.

Walmart promises to be boosting the quantity of food it sells that is produced locally. Nonetheless, the company’s distribution approach emphasizes the usage of a small number of large suppliers rather than the small farms that most people think of when looking for local goods (Youn, C., Kim, S. Y., Lee, Y., Choo, H. J., Jang, S., & Jang, J. I., 2017). The aim of the company is not to raise the number of local products that are sold in each retail but rather to boost the number of local goods sold across all locations, and the industry’s concept of local is found in the same state as the store (Pauer, E., Wohner, B., Heinrich, V., & Tacker, M., 2019). This implies that stores in core agricultural places like California, Texas, or Florida can readily compensate for the shortage of food from the same area in other regions.

Even though Walmart promised to offer organic products some years previously, what they mean by organically differs from what many people expect. When Walmart mentions organics, it refers to large food businesses that are producing organic versions of refined carbohydrates that are already on display cases (Maamoun, A., 2020). Walmart’s own organic dairy brand, which is sold under its own branding, has been widely panned. Thousands of dairy cattle are stored in a single complex, which is similar to a food factory. The cows eat mostly grain and are only grass-fed when they are not exclusively breastfed.

Walmart promises to offer healthier foods to food deserts, communities that are underrepresented by major supermarkets, as part of its push into cities. While low-cost fruits and vegetables appear to be a good deal on paper, it is not that straightforward when they consider the costs to employees, workers along the food supply chain, and the environment (Spicer, A., & Hyatt, D., 2017). Poverty is the deeper-rooted cause of poor diet and food-related health problems. Walmart has the opposite impact of enhancing family economic health, which would allow them to buy better food (Cho, Y. N., Soster, R. L., & Burton, S., 2018). When Walmart opens a store in a neighborhood, earnings drop, and poverty rise. Walmart-opening communities have higher poverty and food-stamp utilization than regions where the shop does not establish.


In the early years, Walmart launched the Sustainable Product Index initiative with the goal of examining its supply chains and developing an index that will rate items based on numerous aspects of environmental impact. A first supplier evaluation has been performed, and a Sustainability Index Consortium is currently working on developing the tools and accumulating the data required to construct a comprehensive product-level sustainability index (Pezzey, J., 2017). When completed, such an assessment will allow consumers and businesses to rapidly pick between items and manufacturing techniques that have less environmental implications.

Walmart used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards to create its ecological, humanitarian, and accountability reports. This Content Index refers to the GRI Standards and gives details on how the Standards were implemented throughout the piece. Unless otherwise specified, page numbers correspond to information in the ESG Report. The concept of materiality used in the ESG Reports and this GRI Content Ranking differs from the criteria used in SEC filings. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is an autonomous, private-sector benchmark body whose objective is to assist businesses worldwide in identifying, managing, and reporting on the sustainability problems that SASB considers are most important to investors. In other circumstances, a certain SASB topic may be discussed in general terms in Walmart’s ESG Publish, but Walmart does not yet measure or monitor performance on the corresponding KPIs.

Supply Chain

Walmart’s continuous improvement advancement on the sustainable development of their own assemblage as well as product distribution networks across the general merchandise and consumer products industries. With a concentration on social and environmental issues such as weather, environment, waste, and conditions of employment, the company held to account recruiting and selection, and financial opportunity for people working in supply chain networks, as well as the accessibility of affordably priced, safer food and other product lines (Jawad, S., 2017). Retail supply networks deliver high-quality, low-cost goods to customers all around the world (Bal, M., & Pawlicka, K., 2021). Sustainable supply networks add value to businesses and society by reducing business risks, boosting collaboration with suppliers and efficiency, enhancing service availability and quality, fostering trust, and providing opportunities for employees.

As a multi-category store with a supply chain, Walmart involves suppliers, consumers, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in sustainability projects across a broad range of product distribution networks. Because of the sophistication of international production networks and the fundamental nature of challenges like environmental issues and enforced labor, long-term progress necessitates collaboration among many stakeholders (Gopalakrishnan, S., Granot, D., Granot, F., SoĆĄić, G., & Cui, H., 2021). The product itself is the most direct approach to making a product supply chain more sustainable (Hughes, C. P., Semeijn, J., & CaniĂ«ls, M., 2017). Walmart has created sourcing rules, standards, and attitude pronouncements for items such as seafood, clothes, plastic packaging, and animal welfare, which insulates materials to fulfill specified criteria before they can be sold by Walmart. Walmart leads a number of attempts to integrate and support suppliers in undertaking aggressive social and environmental objectives in their product supply chains. They want to inspire action on complex global challenges by encouraging and enabling their suppliers to take the initial actions, share their progress, elevate their goals, and broaden their effect.


In business and politics, sustainability is the objective of limiting the depletion of natural or physical resources so that they can be used continuously. The term is typically related to the assumption that unless significant changes are made in how the world is controlled, permanent damage will occur. Sustainability improves their standard of living while also protecting their ecology and environmental assets for future generations. Going green and sustainable is not just excellent for the company; it also increases the long-term benefits of an environmental emphasis. Reduced energy consumption benefits companies by allowing them to become more competitive.

Walmart obtains only a tiny fraction of its electricity from renewable energy and solar energy programs. According to its global accountability disclosures, Walmart, which declared operating profit, blamed its slow progress in sustainable electricity on the difficulty of finding and financing low-carbon solutions that meet profitability pledge requirements. Despite its stated commitment to sustainability, Walmart persists in constructing massive, low-rise fulfillment centers in order to maximize land use. The bulk of these businesses was built on formerly undeveloped land, which includes critical habitats for vulnerable and endangered animals in some instances.

Walmart launched the Sustainable Product Index entrepreneurial spirit intending to investigate its distribution networks and continue to develop an index that will rate objects based on a variety of environmental assessment factors. Walmart created its ecological, humanitarian, and accountability reports using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. In other circumstances, a particular SASB topic may be discussed in general terms in Walmart’s ESG Publish, but Walmart does not yet measure or report progress on the corresponding KPIs.

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