How Walmart & Unilever Tackle Deforestation

by Sep 27, 2018

Shelton Insight

64% of American consumers say a company’s environmental reputation impacts their purchase decisions (Eco Pulse 2017).

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Sustainability Win of the Week

September’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco brought environmental leaders and businesses together from around the world, providing a platform for governments and businesses to review their progress in complying with the Paris Climate Change Agreement and to reassess national climate action plans.

At GCAS, Walmart announced it will identify jurisdictions with deforestation risk and will connect suppliers with guidance on how to best support these multi-stakeholder efforts. This program is part of Project Gigaton, a Walmart initiative to avoid one billion metric tons of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030.

Meanwhile, Unilever announced that it will support the restoration of wildlife habitat and help 60,000 hectares of palm oil plantations to achieve sustainability certification.

Environmental Defense Fund, a Shelton Group client, has long advocated for the jurisdictional approach to deforestation, which encourages companies that source deforestation-related agricultural commodities to collaborate with local governments, communities, and producers in their sourcing region. EDF played a key advisory role for both Walmart and Unilever as the two consumer-product giants created and defined their respective sustainability initiatives to address the complex reality of global deforestation.

Given that a company’s environmental reputation impacts purchase decisions for a majority of consumers, other brands would be wise to emulate Walmart and Unilever in their proactive approach to sustainability. And once you’ve made commitments and taken action, tell your story! If you don’t proactively communicate what your brand stands for and the good things you’re doing for the planet, Americans won’t be able to factor your environmental reputation into their purchase decisions.

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News of the Week

Transforming public vehicles into smart fleets can accelerate climate and public health solutions, new report finds – Environmental Defense Fund

A new report by EDF and connected transportation expert Geotab is changing how we track – and combat – air pollution. Rather than collecting data the “traditional” way (from stationary monitors spaced miles apart), Geotab affixed remote sensors to public fleet vehicles and let them track pollution as they made their daily rounds. The results show that just 10 to 20 vehicles can cover most of a city in just a few months and provide hyperlocal data to inform more effective solutions.

RE100 members outperforming peers on key financial indicators –

A new study from The Climate Group reveals that RE100 members – companies committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy – are performing better than non-members on two key financial indicators: net profit margins and earnings (based on sampling data from 3,500 companies). This finding confirms what we’ve been talking about on the blog in recent weeks – consumers are increasingly excited about renewables (sometimes even if it means slight price increases) and companies can benefit by responding to customers’ demands.

Do consumers really care whether brands take a stand?

Yes, they do. But your brand can’t choose just any stand and expect them to love you for it. Learn how social purpose can create connection with consumers.

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About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.