In 2020, Walmart committed to becoming a regenerative company. As part of this commitment, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation aim to help protect, manage, or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.
According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), pollination is important for maintaining the populations of many plants and is critical in agricultural systems. About 75 percent of the world’s major crops are dependent on pollinators1, and they contribute to the subsistence agricultural production that feeds many millions of people2. Therefore, a substantial decline in pollinator (e.g., bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, bats, moths, wasps) populations may threaten food production for both local consumption and global food markets. Research by IPBES confirms that wild pollinators have declined in abundance and diversity in regions including North America because of factors such as land-use change, intensive agricultural management and pesticide use, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens and climate change.
Also, according to IPBES, pollinator exposure to pesticides can be reduced by minimizing the use of pesticides, incorporating alternative forms of pest control, and adopting a range of specific application practices. Actions to reduce pesticide use include promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM); a sustainable, science-based, decision-making process that combines biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools to identify, manage and reduce risk from pests and pest management tools and strategies in a way that minimizes overall economic, health and environmental risks, as defined by the IPM Institute of North America.
As part of the commitment to protect and restore natural resources involved in production of the products we sell, Walmart U.S. is taking these initial steps to promote pollinator health:
1. Walmart U.S. will source 100% of the fresh produce and floral we sell in our in-store Produce department from suppliers that adopt integrated pest management practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025. We also encourage fresh produce suppliers to report their pesticide application and biodiversity management annually, through Walmart’s annual sustainability surveys.
As part of this initiative, we will also encourage fresh produce suppliers to phase out use of chlorpyrifos and nitroguanidine neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, dinotefuran) where applicable unless mandated otherwise by law, and to avoid replacing them with other products with a level I bee precaution rating.
2. To help improve and expand pollinator habitats, Walmart U.S. will:
a. Encourage fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore, or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3% of land they own, operate, and/or invest in (e.g., community gardens, pollinator-friendly solar3, sustainable landscapes4). Suppliers are encouraged to report annual progress through Walmart’s annual sustainability surveys.
b. Encourage live-plant suppliers to label pollinator-friendly plants (plants grown without neonicotinoids, flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor) for sale in our retail stores.
c. Continue to avoid selling invasive plant species based on recognized regional lists.
d. Help educate customers about pollinator plants for home gardens. In the spring of 2021, more than 1.3 million annual and perennial neonic-free plants for sale in our stores will carry tags to help customers identify plants that attract pollinators. We will explore other initiatives, online and in store, to engage and educate customers.
e. Explore opportunities to incorporate pollinator habitat on Walmart U.S. real estate or in local communities, including:
Our new Home Office: The “Big Nature” landscape of the new Walmart Home Office campus includes features to support local populations of plant pollinators: for example, we anticipate that over 75% of the plant species will be pollinator-friendly plants (providing the food and habitat pollinators that wildlife like bees, butterflies and birds rely on); and we intend to include pollinator-friendly meadows near waterways (providing undisturbed pollinator foraging habitat as well as water access and the potential for more intentional nesting habitat spaces for insects, small animals and birds).
Our stores and other facilities: On an opportunistic basis, we intend to establish pollinator habitats at locations where feasible. For example, 21 Walmart stores have onsite pollinator gardens; and our renewable energy team is working with solar developers to plant pollinator habitats where feasible.