Walmart Canada Becomes 1st Major Canadian Retailer to Offer Carbon-Neutral Last-Mile Delivery: Interview

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Walmart Canada has become the first major Canadian retailer to offer carbon-neutral last-mile delivery – part of the giant retailer’s global ambition to achieve zero emissions by 2040 without the use of offsets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

A new Walmart-funded program will offset an estimated 25,000 tonnes of Scope 3 emissions generated by its last-mile deliveries, which the company said is equivalent to saving one million trees. 

And EcoCart, a sustainability technology company that enables businesses to calculate and offset the carbon emissions of their operations and then encourages consumers to engage with them through transparent and authentic front-end experiences, will independently validate and calculate Walmart’s emissions, along with sourcing and vetting high-quality projects supported by the offsets.

Laurent Duray

“Funding carbon offsets for last-mile delivery in our eCommerce operations is an opportunity for Walmart to make an impact today as we work towards becoming a regenerative company and eliminating emissions across our business,” said Laurent Duray, SVP, eCommerce, Walmart Canada. “Minimizing the environmental impact of the last mile has been top of mind as customer behaviour has shifted towards increased reliance on our fast, easy and convenient delivery options for grocery and online orders.

“I’m really proud actually that Walmart Canada is the first major retailer in Canada to offer the carbon-neutral last-mile delivery for e-commerce orders. Everything that’s being sold and shipped by Walmart including online groceries. Working with EcoCart has actually been great because it’s going to help us to estimate our emissions with our third-party carrier partners and from there work together in achieving those goals that we have.

Image: Walmart Canada

“Our Canadian customers are using more and more delivery business.”

Duray said carbon offsets allow companies and consumers to fund projects to impact climate change – basically compensating for emissions.

“With EcoCart, they really help us estimate those emissions that are produced by our third-party partners as well so we can benchmark them and start working in reducing our footprint as our bigger ambition,” he said.

Duray said Walmart Canada is also committed to 100 per cent alternatively powered fleet vehicles by 2028. It has made one of the country’s largest reservations of Tesla Semi Trucks with 130 expected. 

Image: Walmart Canada

He also said Walmart is part of Project Gigaton, introduced in 2019, which is an effort inviting suppliers to reduce emissions from the global supply chain. To date, 590 of Walmart Canada’s suppliers have made Project Gigaton commitments across six pillars: energy, waste, packaging, transportation, nature, and product use and design.

“These are many, many actions that we’re taking to be a more regenerative company,” said Duray.

Walmart said it will offset an estimated 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking over 5,000 cars off the road, in the first year of this new initiative.

“Carbon offsets allow companies and consumers to fund projects that reduce the effects of climate change, compensating for the emissions created from actions like transportation. Walmart has engaged EcoCart, a sustainability technology company, to calculate and validate the emissions created from online orders and to purchase carbon offset credits from high-quality projects in the exact dollar amount required to reduce or avoid those emissions,” said the retailer.

“The projects Walmart’s offsets will support are aligned with the company’s journey to becoming a regenerative company and will support a portfolio of Canadian-based initiatives that work to either actively remove carbon from the atmosphere or prevent future carbon from being emitted. The project portfolio includes initiatives that protect forests, enable composting and waste diversion, aid with refrigerant management, and turn biomass into fuel.  These Walmart-supported projects will also ensure they benefit the communities as part of their scope with key economic and environmental elements such as providing jobs, education opportunities, or protecting endangered species and biodiversity.”

Peter Twomey

Peter Twomey, COO, EcoCart, said “it’s so exciting to see industry leaders like Walmart work toward a more sustainable future that benefits everyone. By funding offsets on behalf of their customers for last-mile delivery, Walmart is making a positive impact on our collective efforts to regenerate the environment.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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