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ASCM Insights

Only Winners in this Race: Sustainability Success at Walmart and Beyond


Here at ASCM, we love to highlight supply chain organizations that are committed to making the world a better place. Our ASCM Insights blog features inspiring articles about sustainability success at IKEA, John Deere, H&M and many others. Our customer case studies feature real-world circularity accounts from Petrobras, Univar and GE Verona. And just last month in this space, I celebrated Pandora’s dedication to recycling metals in its jewelry supply chain.

This week, we’re focused on Walmart, which is celebrating the completion of Project Gigaton, its ambitious goal set in 2017 to “work with suppliers to reduce, avoid or sequester 1 gigaton (1 billion metric tons) of greenhouse gas emissions in product value chains by 2030.” Impressively, the mega-retailer achieved the objective six years ahead of schedule. Plus, The Wall Street Journal reports that 75% of net U.S. sales in fiscal 2023 came from suppliers enlisted in the project.

Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart executive vice president and chief sustainability officer, published an informative blog post outlining the method the company followed:

  • Set science-based goals to determine emission reduction targets.
  • Collaborate with suppliers to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
  • Follow up with suppliers to offer incentives and continue setting new goals.
  • Note how the project benefits customers, as well.

Project Gigaton “was among the first corporate initiatives centered solely on addressing Scope 3 emissions — indirect emissions from suppliers and vendors — which typically represent the largest portion of a company’s carbon footprint,” per GreenBiz. Meanwhile, Walmart is still working toward its goal of zero operational emissions — scopes 1 and 2 — by 2040, Compliance Week notes, and quotes McLaughlin as hoping that her company will “continue to set the standard for corporate climate action.”

You, too, can be a winner

Meaningful sustainability accomplishments should be celebrated for the inspirational events they are. And there’s no better way to applaud superior performance than by nominating your own inspiring initiatives and supply chain professionals for the 2024 ASCM Awards of Excellence. The call for entries opens today with a May 20 deadline, so don’t wait to enter or nominate a deserving corporation or individual for the tremendous work they’ve done over the past year.

Our Making an Impact award recognizes a business that is creating a better world through supply chain via pioneering corporate social responsibility, proven business integrity and an unwavering focus on sustainability. In addition, there are two other corporate award categories:

  • Corporate Transformation recognizes an organizational transformation that elevates the business as a result of a supply chain assessment leveraging ASCM global standards, products, services and resources; the APICS body of knowledge; or the Supply Chain Operations Reference Digital Standard.
  • Learning and Development recognizes an organization’s commitment to productivity and advancement based on the effective and ongoing application of educational concepts, competencies and best practices from ASCM performance-driven team training.

And there are three individual categories:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion honors a professional who displays exceptional commitment to DEI, fosters professional environments that value equality and individual differences, and inspires people of all profiles and backgrounds to succeed in supply chain careers.
  • Supply Chain Leader honors an executive who exhibits extraordinary team and organizational leadership; provides dedicated coaching, mentoring and support of fellow professionals; and makes lasting contributions to the advancement of the supply chain profession.
  • Emerging Supply Chain Leader honors a visionary young professional who has made contributions to the supply chain profession and demonstrates strong potential to become an outstanding leader in the field.

ASCM Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Rennie heads up the awards program and has created some helpful resources, including FAQs and 7 Tips for a Winning Awards Submission. Winners will be honored onstage at ASCM CONNECT North America — a celebration in its own right — this September in Austin, Texas. Hope to meet you at the podium!

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through