Written by Ayesha Abdullah
Walmart’s Sustainability Initiatives
This year GCM Colloquium had many great speakers to help lead the initiative of sustainability in packaging. Amongst the speakers was Walmart Canada’s Sustainability Manager, Jennifer Barbazza. She outlined Walmart’s goals, their part in the circular economy, their vision, and the Walmart Recycling Playbook.
Walmart has been striving to become more sustainable in their methods of packaging. Jennifer mentioned the importance of increasing sustainability and continuing the strive to be as sustainable as possible. Walmart has three main goals in mind; to be 100% supplied by renewable energy, create zero waste, and sell sustainable products. These are large goals, but can be achieved overtime, and Walmart is currently succeeding to the best of their abilities.
Walmart and The Circular Economy
Being part of the circular economy means ensuring that materials can be reused. Walmart’s goals work in favour of the circular economy. The company focuses on how their packaging affects the environment, and realizes the importance of businesses and industry professionals recognizing sustainability. Walmart is striving to become a regenerative company as they look at the way their products are being sourced and sold.
Walmart’s vision encompasses three key components; use less plastic, make it recyclable, and label it. To start off, using less plastic is as simple as reducing the amount of plastic in packaging wherever possible, and removing as much packaging where it is not needed. The idea is to increase recycled content by having at least 20% recycled content in plastic packaging. The next vision, making it recyclable, ensures that the packaging is 100% recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable. Finally, the last vision, labelling it, ensures that the packaging is labeled for recyclability, and allows consumers to understand how to dispose of their products correctly.
Walmart’s Recycling Playbook
Walmart has a guidebook that essentially allows the company as well as the general public to get a better understanding of whether the item is functionally sustainable. The playbook is broken down into three coloured segments:
Optimize (green): This segment outlines what makes the product recyclable, and the potential things to avoid.
Change (Red): This segment outlines the materials that are not recyclable.
Advance (Yellow): This segment expands on an alternative material that is recyclable.
Continuing the Conversation
Jennifer finished her seminar highlighting the importance of using the correct terminology when talking about sustainability, and encouraged us to continue the dialogue in regards to sustainability, and always question whether things can be done differently.