Walmart tops our environmental impact score this week with recent headlines outlining their plans to create a sustainable beef supply chain and their membership in a food waste coalition. Our Insights Platform’s ESG impact tracker extracted the high points of the company’s efforts over this month to find that in the past 30 days Walmart ranked highest in Impact Score amongst food retailers.
In early August Walmart outlined plans to further their sustainability goals surrounding the sourcing of beef. Recently, Walmart was part of a food waste coalition that launched, comprising 14 major retailers and producers. Our Insights Platform’s ESG impact tracker extracted the high points of the company’s efforts over this month to find that in the past 30 days Walmart ranked highest in Impact Score amongst food retailers with a score of 108.
Walmart is far from perfect, and has faced criticism regarding employee issues and harming local business. Where Walmart has fallen short in governance and social impact, they have made great strides in recent years regarding supply chain sustainability. Those efforts are paying off as reflected in the environmental sentiment scores that we’re tracking. Walmart leads their sector in Environmental sentiment, but trails in both Social and Governance.
Walmart’s plan for beef sustainability centers around animal welfare, soil health, transparency, and collaboration. Approximately 40% of the total landmass in the U.S. is used for grazing, but the land is not exclusively used for livestock. These lands are part of a myriad of ecosystems across the country that include many other living organisms and are part of major watersheds.
Proper stewardship of grazing land can be beneficial to ecosystems. Benefits include increased nutrition for topsoil that in turn can foster resiliency to erosion and flooding as well as the protection of biodiversity in these habitats. Walmart recognizes that long term sustainability in the cattle industry relies on the proper stewardship of grazing lands. They also are seeking to hold all their suppliers to the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare as outlined by the Humane Society. These include freedom from discomfort, fear, and the ability to express normal behavior. For cows this means access to abundant open range that is properly managed.
Walmart has partnered with a variety of organizations in the industry to ensure these goals become the standard including the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. These partnerships allow for greater communication and transparency in the supply chain while helping share best practices in range management to increase soil health and animal welfare.
We laud Walmart’s efforts as the company works to improve their environmental profile, and we will be following developments on our Amenity Insights platform to determine if these goals are indeed becoming a reality and a new normal in business operations for the retailer.
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This communication does not represent investment advice. Transcript text provided by FACTSET and S&P Global Market Intelligence.
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