The Huffington Post – March 2, 2017
By Alexander C. Kaufman
Over the past decade, Walmart has attempted to transform its image from a big-box purveyor of bargain goods sold by low-paid workers to a vanguard of corporate environmentalism, with solar-paneled stores regularly feted by the Davos set.
But for a retail behemoth whose business model still depends heavily on pollution, Walmart’s green policies are more akin to a face-lift than surgical reconstruction, according to workers and advocates calling on the company to add an environmentalist to its board of directors. …
Walmart, for obvious reasons, decides to go with the measure that hides the fact that their own renewable energy projects have declined despite all the fanfare about putting solar on their rooftops.Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Yet as Walmart pushes ahead with the new program, the company’s U.S. operation has reduced its capacity for zero-emissions energy. In 2016, Walmart received just 2.4 percent of its electricity in the U.S. from its own renewable energy projects, down from 3.2 percent in 2013, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. That’s far below the 25 percent figure Walmart touts in its latest sustainability report. To assess the company’s true energy mix, ILSR ― a watchdog group that’s tracked the impact of big-box stores on communities since the 1990s ― reviewed data submitted by Walmart to the nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project.
“What we look at is what percentage of power is your own, from solar on rooftops of stores or renewable power that’s specifically purchased, so we’re not confusing changes to what’s on the grid overall with what Walmart has done itself to improve its power mix,” Stacy Mitchell, the ILSR’s co-director, told HuffPost. “Walmart, for obvious reasons, decides to go with the measure that hides the fact that their own renewable energy projects have declined despite all the fanfare about putting solar on their rooftops.”