Walmart makes global 'farm-to-plate' commitment

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Indy Lifestyle Online

On October 14, Walmart detailed its commitment to help produce and supply the world with sustainable locally grown food.

With the advisement of "suppliers, universities and non-government organizations to develop these goals, including World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, the Field to Market Alliance and Environmental Defense Fund," Walmart's farm-to-market 2015 promise will transform the company's business practices to incentivize and promote local farmers, reduce waste, increase awareness of the global food supply chain as well as make a commitment to only source sustainable products.

Here are some of the highlights:
 - Sell $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small and medium farmers.
 - Provide training to 1 million farmers and farm workers in such areas as crop selection and sustainable farming practices - the company expects half of those trained to be women.
 - Increase the income of the small and medium farmers it sources from by 10 to 15 percent.
 - Accelerate the agricultural focus of the Sustainability Index, beginning with a Sustainable Produce Assessment for top producers in its Global Food Sourcing network in 2011.
 - Invest more than $1 billion in its global fresh supply chain in the next five years.
 - Reduce food waste in its emerging market stores and clubs by 15 percent and by 10 percent in stores and clubs in its other markets by the end of 2015.

Plus Walmart will "require sustainably sourced palm oil for all Walmart private brand products globally by the end of 2015. Sourcing sustainable palm oil for our U.K. and U.S. private brand products alone will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million metric tons by the end of 2015."

And, it aims to "expand the already existing practice of Walmart Brazil of only sourcing beef that does not contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest to all of our companies worldwide by the end of 2015. It is estimated that 60 percent of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is related to cattle ranching expansion."

Walmart's specific commitments around the world include:
 - India: source 50 percent of its fresh produce through its Direct Farm Program.
 - China: upgrade 15 percent of Direct Farm products from Green to Organic certified.
 - Japan: reduce in-store produce waste by 35 percent and increase the number of produce farmers it sources from directly from 15,000 to 17,000.
 - Canada: purchase 30 percent of the produce assortment locally on an annual basis.
 - United States: double its sale of locally sourced produce and increase its purchase of select US crops.

The world's largest distributor's top competitor Carrefour self-describes its hypermarkets and brands to be a "pioneer in sustainability" with one of their core principles being "sustainability for all."

In other green food news, on October 15 a California McDonald's location has become the fourth American location to have officially turned their golden arches green, seeking LEED certification for eco-friendly building design.

To read more about Carrefour's commitment to "promote responsible fishing, respect for human rights in the supply chain, reduce waste, tackle climate change and fight deforestation," go to:

Watch Walmart's Andrea Thomas, the senior vice president of sustainability, discuss the plan: and see more here: