Walmart is eyeing greater energy efficiency and less reliance on fossil fuels as key drivers of its low cost, low price business model.
The company on Monday announced several new targets that are designed to put it further along the path to becoming supplied 100% by renewable energy and save an estimated $1 billion annually in energy costs. The company said it would drive the production or procurement of seven billion kWh of renewable energy globally every year, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels while also reducing the kWh per square foot of energy intensity required to power Walmart’s buildings globally by 20% compared to 2010 levels.
"More than ever, we know that our goal to be supplied 100% by renewable energy is the right goal and that marrying up renewables with energy efficiency is especially powerful," Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., president and CEO Mike Duke said during a sustainability milestone meeting held at the company’s headquarters. "The math adds up pretty quickly – when we use less energy that’s less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings. These new commitments will make us a stronger business, and they’re great for our communities and the environment."
Walmart said its six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two U.S. fossil fuel power plants. If achieved, Walmart will be able to avoid nine million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road, in effect halting the growth of GHG emissions from the company’s largest GHG source – energy used to power buildings – by 2020. For the first time, the company is projecting this GHG decrease even with significant anticipated growth in stores and sales.
"When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth," Duke said. "Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks. Our leadership in this area is something our customers can feel good about because the result is a cleaner environment. And savings we can pass on to them.