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Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Nov 20, 2014

New Report: Walmart’s Dirty Energy Secret

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

placeholderNew Report Reveals Retailer’s Heavy Dependency on Coal-Fired Electricity, Undermining Company’s Pledge to Be an Environmental Leader

WalmartDirtyEnergyCoverImageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. — As a growing group of environmental leaders call on Walmart to stop greenwashing and commit to real sustainability, a new study finds that Walmart is one of the nation’s largest users of coal-fired electricity, and that its heavy reliance on dirty power pumps nearly 8 million metric tons of carbon pollution into the air each year.

In its latest report, Walmart’s Dirty Energy Secret: How the Company’s Slick Greenwashing Hides Its Massive Coal Consumption, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) calculates the total electricity use, coal-fired power consumption and resulting greenhouse gas emissions of every Walmart store and distribution center in the country. According to the report, Walmart’s U.S. operations use nearly six times the amount of electricity as the entire U.S. auto industry. The operations use more than 4.2 million tons of coal each year, accounting for nearly 75 percent of the company’s total emissions from U.S. electricity use.

“Walmart has made remarkably little progress in moving to renewable energy, while other national retailers and many small businesses are now generating a sizable share of their power from clean sources,” said Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher at ILSR and co-author of the new report. “Despite making a public commitment to sustainability nine years ago, Walmart still favors dirty coal-generated electricity over solar and wind, because the company insists on using the cheapest power it can find.”

Many other retailers, including Kohl’s and Ikea, are dramatically outpacing Walmart in the shift to renewable energy. Ikea has installed rooftop solar panels on 90 percent of its U.S. stores, including in many heavy coal-using states where Walmart has no renewable energy projects. Walmart’s few clean energy projects do little to offset its heavy reliance on coal-fired electricity, providing just 3 percent of its total U.S. electricity.

At the same time, the company spends millions of dollars in political donations to candidates who favor dirty energy and oppose action on climate change. In the 2011-2012 election cycle, more than half of the Congressional candidates supported by Walmart and the Walton family received a 100% Dirty Energy Money score from Oil Change International.

“Rather than fulfill the climate commitments it’s been making for years, Walmart is continuing to hurt the health and prosperity of our communities and families while endangering our planet,” said Michael Brune, executive director of Sierra Club.

“Walmart can start living up to its purported values by ending the company’s heavy reliance on dirty coal and respecting their workers.”

“It’s unconscionable that the country’s largest employer and the world’s largest company is choosing to hurt our planet and hurt working families with its dirty operations and poverty pay,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder and president of “Walmart and the Waltons can help our communities truly live better by switching to clean energy and paying workers a fair wage.”

“Walmart could single-handedly strengthen the middle class and help create a vibrant clean energy economy that promotes good jobs, said Jeremy Hays, executive director of Green For All, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. “After years of empty promises, Walmart should use be using its power and wealth to build stronger and more sustainable communities, not disrespecting workers and endangering the future of our planet.”

Walmart’s reliance on coal-fired electricity is adding to carbon pollution in a number of states, including Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Texas. In the 10 states where Walmart uses the most coal-fired electricity, the company is responsible for consuming more than 2 million short tons of coal each year, equivalent to nearly 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In Missouri and Illinois, where there are many highly-polluting coal plants, Walmart uses about 900 million kilowatt hours of coal-fired electricity annually, resulting in over 900,000 metric tons of carbon pollution.

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Credit: Matthew Paulson
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 17, 2014

The History and Hope for a First-in-the-Nation City-Utility Clean Energy Partnership

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

In the past month, the city of Minneapolis and its two investor-owned utilities adopted the nation’s first clean energy partnership, with a wide range of goals including meeting the city’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. How did it happen and what can it accomplish? The following 8-minute video from one of the “lead rabble… Continue reading

Photo - Beulah Drug in North Dakota
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Nov 5, 2014

In Big Win for Local Ownership, North Dakota Votes to Keep State’s Pharmacy Law

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

At North Dakota polls on Tuesday, local ownership was the winner. The state voted overwhelmingly to keep its forward-thinking Pharmacy Ownership Law, defeating Measure 7, the Walmart-funded effort to overturn it. Final returns came in with 59 percent of the vote in favor of the law, the Fargo Forum reports. Continue reading

Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | 1 Comment | Updated on Nov 5, 2014

Democrat Candidates Lost. Democrat Issues Won

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

On Tuesday Democrats lost big when they ran a candidate but won big when they ran an issue. In 42 states about 150 initiatives were on the ballot. The vast majority did not address issues dividing the two parties (e.g. raising the mandatory retirement age for judges, salary increases for state legislators, bond issues supporting… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under General | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Oct 30, 2014

Job Opening: Director of Development

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Reporting to ILSR’s Co-Directors, the Director of Development will be responsible for leading ILSR’s fund development strategy, setting and achieving fundraising benchmarks, engaging supporters, and establishing new relationships with prospective funders. The Director of Development will collaborate closely with ILSR’s Initiative (Program) Directors to jointly develop proposals and execute fundraising strategies. Continue reading