At a Glance


Retail and Apparel

Project Types

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




Bentonville, AR


Isabel Bonnyman recommended a data-driven framework for how Walmart can understand what its suppliers need to increase sustainability progress, and how to prioritize for maximum impact.


Walmart's ambitious and well-established sustainability efforts include its flagship supplier sustainability engagement program, Project Gigaton. Project Gigaton's goals are to reduce or avoid a metric gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions from Walmart’s value chain, and, along with the Walmart Foundation, protect, restore, or more sustainably manage 1 million square miles of ocean and 50 million acres of land.

Increasing suppliers' sustainability ambitions, progress, and reporting against these and future goals requires enhancing Project Gigaton's supplier resources and engagement strategy to meet its many thousand suppliers' diverse sustainability challenges. Therefore, Walmart commissioned Isabel to identify supplier needs and barriers to sustainability as well as develop a framework for prioritizing supplier engagement resources and efforts accordingly. 


Isabel used a three-part process:  

  • Identified suppliers' barriers and needs to advance sustainability by surveying hundreds of suppliers
  • Created distinct supplier personas that can be applied to characterize and understand Walmart's full supplier base, grounded in trends identified between supplier size, procurement spend, and specific needs and barriers reported by suppliers
  • Developed a persona prioritization framework to maximize impact by targeting suppliers with the right support and resources

Separately, Isabel also collected and benchmarked supplier data, and leveraged marginal abatement cost curves to develop a framework for Walmart to identify current gaps and feasible future pathways for decarbonizing upstream emissions in carbon-intensive product categories.

Potential Impact

Supplier insights and supplier-centered design can increase the value of Project Gigaton for suppliers and better support their ability to make meaningful goals and progress against them. Moreover, the framework for leveraging and contextualizing Marginal Abatement Cost Curves with suppliers can allow Walmart to better understand and engage suppliers to decarbonize categories with the most impact. 

For Walmart, the work can help to better prioritize and direct supplier engagement and increase engagement effectiveness and efficiency. The scale of impact that can be achieved by applying these insights across Walmart’s supplier base is huge, given the size of Walmart's global value chain.

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