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Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | 1 Comment | 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 http://ilsr.org/walmarts-dirty-energy-secret/

placeholderWalmartDirtyEnergyCoverImageWalmart talks a lot of talk about its renewable energy initiatives, but a new ILSR report finds that all that hype is just slick greenwashing hiding the company’s massive coal consumption.

In this first-of-its-kind analysis, ILSR calculated that Walmart is one of the nation’s largest users of coal-fired electricity.  Despite pledging nearly a decade ago to shift to 100 percent renewable energy, Walmart today derives only 3 percent of its U.S. electricity from its renewable energy projects — far less than many small businesses and competing chains.

Several national environmental leaders — including Michael Brune of Sierra Club, Bill McKibben of 350.org, and Jeremy Hays of Green For All — joined ILSR in releasing the study and calling for change.

Read:  Executive Summary | Press Release | Full Report

How much climate pollution does Walmart generate by consuming coal in your state?  See the appendix of the report to find out!

Also see our Grist post, Walmart is a Huge Consumer of Dirty Coal Energy.

Executive Summary

In October, at an event broadcast live from Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters, the company’s top executives took the stage to extol its environmental leadership. The announcements they made that day would be covered widely by the press, including the Boston Globe, Guardian, and New York Times. The event opened with a video listing Walmart’s achievements over the preceding months: “We signed our largest multi-state solar power purchase agreement,” the narrator says, over a shot of workers installing new, glossy solar panels. “We were recognized by President Obama for announcing that we will double the number of on-site solar energy projects.” Then Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, and its vice president of sustainability, Manuel Gomez, addressed the crowd. “You get one point for launching a goal,” said Gomez, “and nine points for execution… and what you saw in the video is exactly what we’re doing: executing against these goals.”

But off the stage and out in the real world, Walmart’s sustainability initiatives are heavy on admiration- inducing goals and astonishingly light on execution. Nearly a decade ago, the company pledged to shift to 100 percent renewable energy and acknowledged its responsibility to reduce its climate emissions as quickly as possible. Today, however, Walmart remains as deeply committed as ever to the dirtiest fuels, especially coal. It derives only 3 percent of its U.S. electricity from its renewable energy projects, down from 4 percent two years ago.

In this first-of-its-kind analysis, ILSR provides new information about Walmart’s energy mix and environmental footprint. We calculate the total electricity use, coal-fired power consumption, and resulting carbon emissions of every Walmart store and distribution center in the country in 2013. We also evaluate the company’s renewable energy projects, finding that they are too small and located in the wrong places to have much of an impact on Walmart’s coal use and climate emissions.

Our analysis finds that Walmart’s electricity consumption entails burning a staggering amount of coal: 4.2 million tons a year. That’s enough to give every kid in America a stocking filled with 126 pounds of the sooty stuff as a holiday present. Or, to measure it another way: If you dumped coal on a football field, you’d have to pile it 35 feet high, from end-zone to end-zone, just to power Walmart’s U.S. stores for one week. Walmart sources more of its electricity from coal (40 percent) than the U.S. as a whole (39 percent) — a remarkable fact for a company that has touted its environmental responsibility for years. Indeed, we find that Walmart alone consumes 0.5 percent of all the electricity produced from coal in U.S., a stunning figure given the size of the entire national economy and population. Walmart’s use of coal-fired electricity in the U.S. accounts for 37 percent of its total reported global greenhouse gas emissions, and 74 percent of its U.S. emissions from electricity. Continue reading

Image: Detail from infographic
Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Nov 14, 2014

Get the Facts on Shopping Local for the Holidays with this Infographic

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/shopping-local-infographic/

Independent businesses are poised to draw more people this holiday season.  To illustrate the ways that local businesses are growing in popularity, delivering stronger economic returns, and expanding in numbers, the Advocates for Independent Business, a coalition of 14 groups coordinated by ILSR, put together this infographic. Continue reading

Photo: Forman Drug
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Nov 3, 2014

Why North Dakotans Should Vote to Keep the State’s Unique Pharmacy Law this Election Day

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/north-dakota-should-vote-for-pharmacy-law/

This Tuesday, North Dakota voters will decide the fate of the state’s Pharmacy Ownership Law. Those working against the law—namely Walmart, which has sunk more than $3 million into a front group called North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices—contend that abandoning the long-standing policy would lead to an increase in the number of pharmacies serving North Dakota. Our research suggests just the opposite. 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 http://ilsr.org/big-win-local-ownership-north-dakota-votes-states-pharmacy-law/

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

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 1, 2014

A Localist Agenda: Policy and Politics for Building a Community-Scaled Economy (Video)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/localist-agenda-policy-politics-building-community-scaled-economy-2/

In this panel at the New Economy Coalition’s 2014 conference, ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell, together with Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation and Aaron Bartley of PUSH Buffalo, talk about crafting a countervailing political narrative and shared policy framework for devolving economic power and building a community-scaled economy. Continue reading