Walmart commits to sourcing from suppliers working to protect pollinators
To help improve pollinator health and biodiversity in regions where it operates, Walmart has announced new pollinator commitments to help reverse nature loss and make its new nature commitments attainable.
These new commitments are the largest pollinator health efforts from a U.S. grocery retailer to date, aiming to reduce several pollinator threats through promoting integrated pest management (IPM) practices and improving and expanding pollinator habitats.
Without collective action to begin restoring these habitats around the world, a future without well-known foods such as strawberries and oranges is feasible, according to Martin Mundo, SVP, General Merchandise Manager, Produce and Global Produce Sourcing of Walmart U.S.
It's estimated that one out of every three bites of food we eat is possible because of animal pollinators. Bees are the most popular pollinators, though butterflies, moths, birds, bats and many more are also included.
Yet studies show these vital pollinator populations have been declining over the last 30 years due to habitat loss, pests, pollution, pesticides and a changing climate, among other contributing factors.
Integrated Pest Management
Pollinator exposure to pesticides can be reduced by minimizing the use of pesticides, incorporating alternative forms of pest control and adopting a range of specific application practices through an Integrated Pest Management system.
"Walmart U.S. is committing to source 100% of the fresh produce and floral we sell in our in-store produce department from suppliers that adopt IPM practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025," Mundo said.
Improve and Expand Pollinator Habitats
Pollinators are fundamental for around 80% of all flowering plants and more than three-quarters of the food crops that feed us.
To help improve and expand pollinator habitats, Walmart U.S. will encourage fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3% of land they own, operate and/or invest in and report annual progress.
"In addition, we have partnered with solar developers to establish pollinator habitats around solar panel arrays."
To help educate and engage customers about pollinator plants for home gardens, Walmart U.S. is encouraging suppliers to label pollinator-friendly plants as attractive to pollinators in its retail locations.
Starting this month, plants that attract pollinators will feature special tags to help customers grow their own pollinator gardens.
"Driving the scale of our collective pollinator commitments through our supply chain can create industry-leading changes and have a significant positive impact for the future of our planet," Mundo said.