Report highlights company's progress and future plans in sustainability, employment practices, responsible sourcing and community impact

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Aug. 3 /CNW/ - Walmart Canada today released its fourth annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report summarizing the company's accomplishments and future plans in social responsibility for the period ending January 31, 2010. This year, the company has developed a new and interactive website for the report, www.walmartcsr.ca, that will serve as the company's main vehicle for reporting on its CSR progress in the future.

The report is an open look at the impact of the company's Canadian operations in four categories of CSR: Environment, People, Responsible Sourcing and Community.

"Just as firmly as we're committed to saving Canadians money, we're committed to ensuring that the choices we make as a company enable Canadians and people around the world to truly live better," said David Cheesewright, President and CEO of Walmart Canada. "We've made good progress against our 2009 goals and are embarking on a pivotal first phase of a five-year plan to lead the Canadian retail industry in sustainability and corporate stewardship."

Highlights of Walmart Canada's 2009 CSR report include:

Environment
Walmart Canada is dedicated to reducing its environmental impact and is working towards three core sustainability goals: To be supplied 100 per cent by renewable energy; To create zero waste; To sell products that sustain people and the environment.

  • Building Greener: Walmart Canada began construction of its most sustainable perishable distribution centre (PDC) in North America, which will include a pilot of fuel cell technology, solar and wind power as well as many other sustainable features. The company met its goal to open new stores that are 30 per cent more energy-efficient and is working to develop more energy-efficient future prototypes.
  • Waste Diversion: The company reached an 80 per cent waste diversion rate across its network of stores, diverting an estimated 127,093,519 kg of waste from landfill. The program is expanding with a fresh food initiatives to help stores reach the company's 90 per cent waste diversion rate by 2014.
  • Energy-Efficiency: Walmart Canada was successful in reducing electricity use per square foot of retail space through the implementation of various energy-saving initiatives at the store level.
  • Renewable Energy: Walmart Canada is investing in renewable energy including hydrogen fuel cells, geothermal technology as well as solar and wind power.
  • Business Collaboration: In February 2010, Walmart Canada hosted its first Green Business Summit to share its business case for going green and to accelerate the implementation of profitable and environmentally sustainable business practices among other companies.

Community
Walmart Canada aims to develop and sustain positive partnerships with communities by investing, hiring, operating and contributing on both the local and national level. The company is focused on helping the communities that drive its success. Its main contribution focus is on helping families advance in the areas of healthcare, education and safety.

  • Community Investment: The company made payments of $14.2 billion to 7,726 Canadian suppliers and service providers. Amidst a global economic downturn, it steadily increased investment in Canada directing hundreds of millions of dollars to building and converting stores as well as creating 5,400 jobs in the construction trades.
  • Community Involvement: Walmart Canada donated and raised through fundraising a total of $25.5 million. The company refocused the breadth of its activities and streamlined existing programs to increase the impact for each core cause.

Global Sourcing
Walmart Canada sources the merchandise it sells from Canadian suppliers and from vendors in over 71 other countries. The company does not own or operate factories but its constant focus is on sourcing products from ethical sources, ensuring that suppliers maintain high standards and that they manufacture products in an environmentally sustainable way. The company is also continuing its work to build community support with NGOs on the ground in the countries it sources from.

  • Collaborating for Change: Globally, the company began a partnership with other major brands and retailers to establish a common set of standards for audits so that a consistent and global approach for continuous improvement of working conditions is applied to global supply chains.
  • Supplier Development Program: Through supplier development specialists, the company is proactively working with strategic suppliers to raise standards and practices. It is working with them to identify any issues they may be experiencing and assisting them in defining solutions.
  • Buyer Training: Walmart Canada is taking extra measures to ensure buyers are informed on responsible sourcing practices and that it is part of their buying workflow.
  • At Work in the Community: The company is continuing its work with the International Giving Development Program to fund local NGOs. The company is helping fund schools, health clinics and training sessions with an aim to promote economic empowerment for vulnerable populations.

People
Walmart Canada has a team of over 80,000 associates. The company is committed to helping them perform at their best by providing a positive work environment, practical training and opportunities to grown and excel in their lives and careers.

  • Winning Corporate Culture: The company was named one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures of 2009 by Waterstone Human Capital Inc. Walmart Canada is the largest employer and the only grocery and general merchandise retailer on the list. Companies on the list were selected by Canadian senior executives and Walmart Canada was specifically chosen for its culture of recognition, engrained social responsibility strategy and financial performance.
  • Best Host Program: The company is piloting the "Best Host" program in stores, which is designed to enhance English language and customer service skills for associates. Course participants come from diverse backgrounds with the majority speaking English as their second or third language.
  • Training and Advancement: In an economically difficult year, Walmart Canada celebrated 6,600 promotions and provided over 5,300 associates with operational and leadership training. The company saw increasing numbers of its associates taking the opportunity to train for managerial positions through its Store of Learning program, which are special classrooms set inside our stores.

"Our work is just beginning in CSR, but we're proud of our progress towards our goals," added Cheesewright. "We know there's much more to do and we'll continue to use our size and scope to drive change within our own business and within the wider global context."

About Walmart Canada
Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Walmart Canada operates 319 retail outlets nationwide and serves more than one million customers daily. The company's vision is to demonstrate environmental leadership by reducing the ecological impact of its operations through company-wide programs focused on waste, energy and products, as well as outreach programs that preserve and enhance local environments. Walmart's global goal is to generate zero waste, to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. Visit www.walmart.ca for more information or follow Walmart Canada on Twitter: www.twitter.com/walmartcdanews.

For further information: Felicia Fefer, Walmart Canada, (905) 821-2111 x 4466