We have observed recently, began Carter Roberts, President & CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, the emergence of nature as a fundamental issue in climate change but also in and of itself. Corporations like Walmart play a crucial role. Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer and President of the Walmart Foundation at Walmart Inc., explained that Walmart has understood for years that nature needs to be elevated to the same priority as climate change and the circular economy.
It makes business sense, she continued, because nearly everything Walmart sells has its start in nature. The company works to educate and assist suppliers on conservation, restoration, and basic steps around certification, philanthropy, transparency, and traceability. Their ultimate goal, McLaughlin said, is to make the affordable choice the sustainable choice.
Building on the idea of conservation, Roberts discussed WWF’s efforts in the Northern Great Plains, creating restorative programs that deliver healthy grasslands. McLaughlin noted that policy, business, and expertise from civil society are all needed to transform systems of production for justice and sustainability. These result in clear economic gains, positive environmental outcomes, and social benefits. Roberts ended by explaining that as we more deeply understand the planet we see that nature has to stay intact in order to maintain the fundamental underpinnings of society and business.
“As a retailer, almost everything we sell comes from nature […] we want this work and advocacy of nature to be the norm.”
Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer and President of the Walmart Foundation, Walmart Inc.
“The loss of nature is huge and accelerating […] Project Gigaton and our work with Walmart is always a cross-sectoral collaboration.”
Carter Roberts, President & CEO, World Wildlife Fund