Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy - Unlocking sustainable value for the world’s largest retailer



•Wal-Mart’s initial request was for an environmental footprint to help them understand their risks. We proposed looking at the environment as a chance to lead, and develop a business strategy using sustainability as a lens to reveal hidden opportunities to create value.

Our Role:

•Leadership strategy development including:

–Developed high-level footprint for direct operations, supply chain, and products using an input output based model for consumer goods

–Prepared, in partnership with Conservation International, an executive briefing on the environmental issues of the 21st century

–Developed and facilitated strategic business process planning that included key leaders and a wide range of external stakeholders and resulted in plans to ‘lead’ or ‘compete’ in 14 areas

–Designed and conducted 2-day executive choice meeting

–Helped craft bold goals and public commitments that made it clear that breakthrough solutions were required and that there was no turning back on this new direction


•Strategy implementation - assisted with a wide range of implementation activities including:

–Created ‘sustainable value networks’ with suppliers, NGOs, academics, and other stakeholders to implement strategies and develop new innovations

–Built processes for employee education, engagement, and alignment around sustainability objectives to help embed it into the DNA of the company


•Year 1 implementation resulted in >$500M in ROI (revenue enhancement and cost reduction).

•Met or exceeded stretch goals around in-store and truck efficiency (between 2005 & 2008, Wal-Mart increased trucking efficiency by 38%, with plans to have it doubled by 2015).

•Drove product innovation and supply chain transformations in fish, jewelry, textiles, electronics, and other categories.  (e.g. Wal-Mart is working toward making all of its appliances Energy Star-rated).

•Created a source of competitive advantage to recruit and retain key leaders.  Successfully differentiated Wal-Mart in the marketplace.