Walmart Launches Supplier Strategy to Restore Pollinator Habitats
BENTONVILLE, AR - We in the fresh produce industry know that everyone plays a key role in getting produce from farm to table, but Mother Nature is the one that takes the lead in the form of everything from weather to the pollinators that help plants grow. To help improve pollinator health and biodiversity, Walmart U.S. has announced new pollinator commitments that will help the company’s efforts to reverse nature loss and bring it closer to meeting its nature commitments made by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. As part of this new strategy, the retailer is inviting its suppliers, stakeholders, and consumer base to partake in its efforts.
“Pollinators are fundamental for around 80 percent of all flowering plants and more than three-quarters of the food crops that feed us,” said Martin Mundo, SVP, General Merchandise Manager, Produce and Global Produce Sourcing, in a blog post.” To help improve and expand pollinator habitats, Walmart U.S. will encourage fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore, or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3 percent of land they own, operate, and/or invest in and report annual progress.”
Walmart’s new commitment is one of the largest pollinator health efforts on behalf of a U.S. grocery retailer to date, according to a post from the company. The retailer’s mission is to reduce pollinator threats through promoting integrated pest management (IPM) practices and improving and expanding pollinator habitats.
With certain pesticides being one of several factors that have caused adverse effects to pollinator health, Walmart U.S. is committing to sourcing 100 percent of its fresh produce and floral that is sold in stores from suppliers that adopt IPM practices. This will be verified by a third party and adopted by the company by 2025.
Additionally, the retailer is encouraging its fresh produce suppliers to phase out usage of chlorpyrifos and nitroguanidine neonicotinoids pesticides (where applicable unless mandated otherwise by law). Walmart is also encouraging them to avoid replacing these pesticides with other products with a level I bee precaution rating.
To continue improving and expanding pollinator habitats, Walmart U.S. will continue to avoid selling invasive plant species at its retail locations, while working with local organizations to protect, restore, and establish new pollinator habitats in major pollinator migration corridors. This includes expanding its pollinator garden pilot, the “Big Nature” landscape of Walmart’s future Home Office campus, which will support local populations of plant pollinators.
Also, Walmart has partnered with solar developers to establish pollinator habitats around solar panel arrays at its distribution center in Laurens, South Carolina, and as it has done through Walmart’s participation on community solar farms across Minnesota.
Finally, the Walmart Foundation recently granted funding to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability to use citizen science data to monitor pollinators more cost-effectively, creating opportunities to improve conservation planning, farm practices, and landscape management in the U.S.
How will Walmart continue to expand this fresh-forward strategy? Keep reading AndNowUKnow as we continue to report.