At its 2019 sustainability milestone summit recently, Walmart announced that for the first time, checkout carousels at its US stores will include reusable bags that will be available to customers for purchase. The aim of this new campaign is to help reduce plastic waste and increase customer convenience by placing reusable bags in easy to find and highly frequented sections of its stores. As part of the launch, Walmart is rolling out a new assortment of reusable bags that are made with post-consumer recycled content.

The new reusable bag initiative will begin rolling out to stores next month and follows a recent announcement by Walmart on a series of plastic waste reduction goals that seek to advance the sustainability of the retailer’s private brand packaging by making it 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025.

This year’s milestone summit also featured announcements and updates on several other sustainability initiatives. For example, the event marks the two-year anniversary of Project Gigaton, a platform in which Walmart is working with suppliers to avoid 1 bn metric tonne, a gigaton, of emissions from global value chains by 2030. As part of the summit, Walmart Canada announced it is joining Project Gigaton, making it Walmart Inc.’s third international market to work with suppliers towards emissions reductions.

In the first two years of Project Gigaton, many suppliers are already delivering results on their goals and report avoiding more than 93 mn metric tonne of emissions toward the one gigaton goal. Emissions totals are calculated in accordance with Walmart’s Project Gigaton Accounting Methodology. In an effort to make it easier to enlist more suppliers to the growing total of over 1,000 suppliers participating in the platform, Walmart also announced that it would publish its Project Gigaton Calculators, which are designed by Walmart and NGOs for suppliers to use in reporting progress toward the Project Gigaton goal.

“We are encouraged by the engagement of our suppliers in Project Gigaton,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart Inc. “To achieve our ambitious climate goals, we aim to expand and deepen that engagement. The progress to date shows how companies can contribute to climate action through practical actions all along the product supply chain. Ultimately, building sustainable supply chains requires collective action from everyone – not only our associates and suppliers, but customers, business in general, and civil society. We are excited to be part of the solution.”

During the milestone summit, Walmart shared an update on its responsible sourcing work alongside NGOs, industry groups, governments and suppliers, with the aspiration to improve the lives of workers in the global apparel supply chain with a particular focus on women. Walmart also shared new sustainability goals for apparel and soft home textiles within Walmart US stores.