Walmart refreshes financing programme to drive down supply chain emissions

The aim of Project Gigaton is to avoid a billion metric tonnes of emissions from the supply chain between 2017 and 2030

The firm has forged a partnership with HSBC and CDP to launch the new supply chain finance scheme this week, in what is being described as a global first.

Under the scheme, suppliers already participating in Walmart’s ‘Project Gigaton’ scheme to cut indirect emissions for the corporation will be supported in setting science-based emissions targets verified in line with a 1.5C trajectory by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Also on offer will be support to complete climate disclosures through CDP.

This verification will help Walmart to better measure its Scope 3 (indirect) emissions and to accelerate reductions in line with its long-term climate targets, by engaging suppliers. Project Gigaton helps suppliers reduce emissions from energy, waste, packaging, transportation and product use and design. It also contains a workstream to help them conserve and restore nature.

HSBC and Walmart have been offering a sustainable supply chain finance programme since 2019. The addition of CDP to the collaboration will help suppliers to set their own targets and improve disclosures.

CDP will notably help the suppliers to disclose climate risk in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). This framework is the most popular globally and will be mandated in the UK from next year for large businesses, with the rest of the G7 nations having committed to following suit.

“With CDP scoring added to the mix, the programme provides suppliers with one more way to take advantage of lower-priced financing through progress and disclosure – and exemplifies how we approach sustainability through a shared value lens,” said Walmart’s senior vice-president for sustainability Jane Ewing.

Project Gigaton first launched in 2017 and has seen more than 3,100 of Walmart’s suppliers signing up to date. These suppliers have collectively and cumulatively avoided more than 416 million metric tonnes of CO2e, as of the end of 2020. That leaves 584 million metric tonnes of CO2e to mitigate before 2030.

Walmart updated its climate targets last year for its operations. It is aiming to reach net-zero operational emissions by 2040, without the use of offsetting, and to source and generate 100% renewable electricity by 2035.

After setting that target, it partnered with other major retailers with net-zero targets – H&M Group, Kingfisher and Ingka Group – to launch a retail Race to Zero Breakthroughs workstream. COP26 saw Best Buy, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Australian Retail Association signing up to that initiative.

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Sarah George

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