Friday, August 31, 2012

Wal-Mart joins sustainable agriculture alliance

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, has joined an alliance of other Fortune 500 companies who say they want to make agriculture more sustainable. The Field to Market alliance was started three years ago by the non-profit Keystone Center to improve agricultural productivity and reduce the use of natural resources. It includes farm groups, grain handlers and food makers, but Wal-Mart is the first retailer in the group and now its largest member, writes Michael Hirtzer of Reuters. "We have pretty ambitious goals to sell products that are sustainable and this is directly within that framework," Rob Kaplan, Wal-Mart's senior manager of sustainability, said of the new partnership.

"Field to Market studies major crops and works with farmers to make agriculture more environmentally friendly," Hirtzler reports. "A report the group released earlier this summer highlighted how six crops -- corn, cotton, potatoes, rice, soybeans and wheat -- that are now being produced more efficiently than they were in the last three decades. On one project sponsored by Field to Market, General Mills Inc. worked with 25 wheat growers in Idaho to learn how to maximize the use of fertilizer and other products used in farming, such as seed, insecticides and herbicides."

Wal-Mart reports it is seeking to eliminate 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. Last year, the company told Reuters it turned 1.2 million pounds of cooking oil recovered from its stores into biodiesel, soap and a supplement for cattle feed. Other members of the alliance include Kellogg, Cargill, Coca-Cola and the National Corn Growers Association.


X said...

Hi Amy, you don't know me and for all you know I'm just another hippie troll, but here's my question anyhow: did you just reprint a press release or what? Reason I ask, is that Walmart, Cargill, etc. are what I'd call the problem, not part of the solution. Are there facts and policies behind this or just another coat of greenwashing from the usual suspects?

Steve F said...

Looks more like a quote from Reuters. If Reuters is printing news releases, then yes. Most news is, in fact, churnalism, steered toward media sheep by PR (and readily accepted, because, as a class, newsies don't have ambition).

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart gets me Chilean fruit in the Midwest winter. Can't do that at the farmer's market.