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).

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.

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

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.

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.