With groceries accounting for half of their sales, Walmart is the largest grocer in the U.S. and has tremendous market influence. As part of Walmart’s Corporate Responsibility Program they have an environmental and agricultural sustainability goal to reduce 20 MMT of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2015. Walmart worked with the Sustainability Consortium to develop an internal Sustainability Index which highlighted fertilizer related GHG emissions as a significant portion of their overall GHG footprint. As such, Walmart has highlighted fertilizer optimization as a key priority for their food business. At their Global Sustainability Milestones Meeting Walmart stated a goal of reducing fertilizer use on 14 million acres by 2020 through fertilizer BMP implementation.
With Walmart’s recent announcement of a fertilizer optimization program as part of its new sustainability effort, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) was invited by the company’s sustainability team to write a post regarding 4R nutrient stewardship for the company’s Green Room blog. Click here to view the article. The blog content is consistent with our ongoing discussions with Walmart regarding the company’s support of the 4R nutrient stewardship framework (use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place) as the sustainable way to manage fertilizer nutrients.
Walmart has also created a Fertilizer Optimization Initiative Supplier Toolkit. Specifically, the toolkit defines a Fertilizer Optimization Plan which they provided to their food suppliers (i.e. Kellogg, General Mills, etc.). Within the Toolkit, Walmart acknowledges they are not fertilizer experts nor are they prescribing solutions, but they do believe improvement of on-farm productivity could drive a 25 percent improvement in their sustainability scorecards. Their stated optimization plan objectives are 1) to identify, prioritize and deliver opportunities to improve fertilizer optimization, reduce input cost and reduce GHG emission and 2) to integrate preferences into the conventional business processes.