At Walmart, Hurricane Katrina really started it all for us. Our company’s emergency response showed us the potential we have to make a difference on the social and environmental issues that matter most to our customers, associates and communities. We knew that if we could be that company all of the time and all around the world, we could do a tremendous amount of good.
Shortly after the Katrina disaster, our CEO at the time, Lee Scott, gave a speech called “21st Century Leadership.” It put sustainability front and center for the company and laid out three goals:
We’ve been working ever since to build a more sustainable company and create change globally. We have woven sustainability into our supply chain, our products, our associates’ lives and the communities we serve and source from. Sustainability continues to make us a better company by reducing waste, lowering costs, driving innovation, and helping us fulfill our mission to save people money so they can live better.
As the world’s largest retailer, we believe we have a responsibility to make a difference, and we are committed to using our size and scale to address pressing societal needs. Worldwide, we work with more than 100,000 suppliers – and every week – more than 200 million people shop our stores. That gives us a unique opportunity to have real impact. The world has high expectations of Walmart, and we are committed to meeting and exceeding them.
Our CEO Mike Duke describes it this way: “Today, sustainability is sustainable at Walmart. The outside world recognizes our leadership and our ability to get things done.”
The Green Room is the next step in our sustainability journey and we hope it will be a platform for an ongoing conversation with NGOs, suppliers and others who want to share ideas and partner with us in helping people live better around the world.