Walmart (China)

At a Glance

Industry

Retail and Apparel

Project Types

Engagement and Behavior Change, Supply Chain, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy

Year

2020

Location

Shenzhen, China

Summary

Han Ding identified sustainable packaging solutions at Walmart.

Goals

As one of the largest retailers in the world and a leader in environmental sustainability practices, Walmart announced the creation of Project Gigaton in 2016. The goal of this initiative is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the company’s supply chain by one gigaton (1 billion metric tons) by 2030. In service to this aim, they enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Han Ding to evaluate the potential of GHG emissions reductions for the packaging industry. She was tasked with identifying and quantifying packaging that has GHG reduction potentials, recommending ways to reduce plastics usage as well as assisting suppliers with sustainable training.

Solutions

After finishing policy analysis and reviewing academic literature, Han identified reducing overpackaging as the most effective solution. Han studied 14 products of Sam’s Club and identified packages that need improvement. By doing life circle analysis (LCA) according to emission factors provided by U.S. EPA, Han quantified the key factors in the suggestions she proposed, such as cost savings, energy savings and reduced emissions. She also developed the grading system of sustainability scorecard to help suppliers evaluate the sustainability of packaging in terms of its resin, color, weight, coating etc.  

In addition, Han designed the energy efficiency survey and assisted with the sustainable training for Walmart’s suppliers.

Impact

By reducing the unnecessary packaging of products, the proposed three products will offset approximately 60 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This brings the value of $43,987 annually. 

In addition, by changing the material and color of packaging at Sam’s Club, the recycling efficiency will be improved, which will also help Walmart China to better tackle with the recent plastics polices.


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