Last week Walmart announced it will eliminate 20 million metric tons of GHG emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. This goal represents one and a half times the company’s estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years and is the equivalent of taking more than 3.8 million cars off the road for a year, according to a press release issued by Walmart and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Walmart worked with EDF to develop an approach that looks at their supply chain on a global scale. Other advisors have signed on to identify projects, track and measure reductions, engage suppliers and ensure proper procedures are followed for each GHG claim. The program has three main components: Selection, Action and Assessment. For the Selection component, Walmart will focus on product categories with the highest embedded carbon. For the Action component, products must reduce GHGs in either the sourcing or end-of-life disposal, Walmart must demonstrate it had direct influence on the reduction, and show how the reduction wouldn’t have occurred without Walmart’s participation. For the Assessment component, suppliers and Walmart will jointly account for the reductions, and ClearCarbon will perform a quality assurance review of those claims to ensure the process is correct. PricewaterhouseCoopers will then assess under consulting standards to make sure the process is correct.

This announcement by Walmart is a clear indication that suppliers need to act fast in order to compete in their supply chain. President and CEO Mike Duke made several statements about energy efficiency and carbon reduction being central issues in the world today, and that their GHG reduction goal comes down to the customers. By helping suppliers reduce energy use, costs and their carbon footprint, Walmart will help customers do the same thing.

Sustainability can begin with carbon reduction, but it is an ongoing process. Embarking on such a journey can be daunting, but BrownFlynn has helped many companies along the way for years – and is poised to answer your company’s call at any time.

For more information about Walmart’s program to reduce GHG emissions, please visit www.walmartstores.com/greenhousegas.