By Stephanie Fusco, Corporate Affairs
At Walmart, regeneration is always top of mind – and on-shelf. Our merchants are focused on bringing the best flavour profiles, products and value to our aisles, but they’re also our regeneration champions. This is especially true within Walmart Brands, where our merchants are able to impact every aspect of a product, from ingredients and production to packaging.
Meet Flora Thay.
Flora has been with Walmart for 20 years, starting while she was in pharmacy school and moving through roles within the store team, operations and merchandising. She eventually moved into Health and Beauty and opted to take a role in Produce after her maternity leave to try her hand at food.
Flora is now responsible for what we call “weekly shop” items – food, health and wellness and other consumables – for Walmart Brands, the company’s “house brand”, that is – products created for and sold exclusively at Walmart Canada.
“Private brand is the full expression of our corporate priorities,” explains Flora. “We’re working on diversity, sustainability, being healthier for the planet within Walmart Brands. It’s crucial work – and we’re consistently pushing ourselves to do more.”
As a mom, Flora finds she has an even deeper connection to building a better future for Canadians through the work Walmart does around regeneration.
She has big dreams for sustainability within Walmart Brands: her goal is to have Walmart Brands be the centre of excellence for not only innovation but sustainability as well, and to drive that change within the industry.
For example, Walmart Brands is often at the forefront in packaging innovation at Walmart, working alongside vendors to find new ways to walk the path of regeneration together. And when we find an innovative solution, we want to share it.
“We want to own these innovations and we want to make it accessible to all of our vendors, and to other companies, too,” Flora explains. “If Walmart can use its size and scale to have sustainability make economic sense for all companies, that’s what we should do.”
Since joining the produce team, Flora has been at the helm of major regeneration initiatives, including our Pollinator Health Commitment and supporting the company’s move towards more sustainably-sourced food and enhanced recycling commitments for packaging.
In the last year, the Fresh and Walmart Brands team has made big moves in regeneration, including:
- A new pollinator health strategy, including commitments around integrated pest management practices, improving and expanding pollinator habitats and installing pollinator gardens.
- The largest retail commitment at the time to purchasing beef sourced from certified-sustainable Canadian farms and ranches, amounting to more than 1.5M pounds of beef.
And that’s just the start. Looking into 2023, the Fresh and Walmart Brands team is working towards a number of other initiatives to support Walmart’s journey to becoming a regenerative company.
Announcing a regenerative commitment in the retail industry tends to spark waves of change – “We’re building momentum in the industry,” Flora explains. “When you see what other people in the business are doing, you want to do better. It’s a huge focus for our total team”.
Flora shares that her raison d'être is not complicated – it’s about doing the right thing.