American retailer Walmart has announced it will cut its supply chain emissions by 20 million tonnes by 2015.
If Walmart can do this why can’t the Australian government get our country to do the same?
My understanding is that if the government’s proposed CPRS goes ahead Australia’s emissions will be cut by around 20 million tonnes by 2015. The Australian government’s target is a 5% reduction by 2020.
According to the Environmental Leader, Walmart’s target “translates into 150 percent of the giant retailer’s estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years.”
On a percentage basis Walmart’s targets eclipse Australia’s by a massive amount.
Australia has over 1.2 million people employed by state governments. I’m not sure how many public servants are employed federally, on top of this number.
Walmart has around 1.9 million employees.
From a staffing perspective the number of people whom Walmart and the Australian government have “operational control” over are not that dissimilar in magnitude. Obviously as a retailer Walmart has a much bigger supply chain over which it has influene than the Australian government. So in this regard a direct comparison between Walmart and the Australian government is not really fair. But on the other hand the Australian government in theory can influence all Australians to reduce their carbon footprint, either through regulation or incentives.
What is striking about the Walmart announcement is the seriousness of their commitment. If all businesses were this serious about reducing their carbon footprint our government’s incapacity to cut Australia’s carbon emissions would be less of a worry.
If Walmart, an organisation famous for keeping costs low and operating leanly, can significant cut its emissions, can’t yours do the same? I need to be clear here, Walmart is a for-profit business. Its margins aren’t huge – in 2006 its profit margin was 3.2%. Yet it can clearly see that the environmental benefit of cutting its emissions is not a bad business decision.
Most of Walmart’s savings are likely to come from energy efficiency. Energy efficiency provides a positive return on investment. It makes economic and business sense, as well as environmental sense.
If Walmart can commit to significantly cutting their emissions, can’t your organisation do the same? Our government can’t, but you can. Are all Australian’s with worries about climate change going to be shamed by a business from across the Pacific, or are we all going to step up personally and in our workplaces and get serious about reducing greenhouse gas pollution?