Vermont Business Magazine Among its highlights for FY17, Walmart anticipates investing millions in Vermont through the remodeling of its Williston store this year, along with e-commerce enhancements and other customer-focused priorities across its six Vermont stores. The Arkansas retail giant also boasted $460,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to Vermont non-profits, employs over 1,200 in-state, and spends over a quarter-billion dollars with Vermont suppliers.
Walmart released its 10th annual Global Responsibility Report Tuesday, which highlights “milestones in its global progress toward creating shared value for people, business, and society.”
Walmart's Vermont stores are in Bennington, Rutland, Berlin, Williston, St Albans and Derby. Vermont was the last state in the nation without a Walmart. In January 2016, Walmart announed it would close 154 of its US stores of its nearly 12,000 locations worldwide. All the Vermont stores survived and since then the Derby store has opened. The Williston store, after a long legal battle, opened in January 1997.
“2017 is going to be an exciting year for Walmart in Vermont as we continue to focus on how to better serve our customers through innovation and investments so they can save both time and money,” said Jack Williams, Walmart’s Regional General Manager for Vermont. “We’ve had a sharp focus on making our store experience second to none and our customers are telling us that our plan is working. Our team is energized and we’re looking forward to exceeding our customers’ expectations for what a great Walmart shopping experience can be like.”
The report includes examples illustrating Walmart’s local impact in three areas of its Global Responsibility Report:
Walmart said in its report that it is addressing barriers that can impede career advancement for associates. In FY2017, Walmart completed a $2.7 billion investment in US associates that included increases in training, education and higher wages.
Vermont achievements include: Awarding a total of more than $304,000 in quarterly bonuses to Vermont associates in FY17; continuing its commitment to hire military veterans for a total of 200 veterans hired in Vermont since launching the Walmart Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013.
In addition to investing in its own associates, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in 2015 launched the Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million sector-wide effort aimed at strengthening the transferability of skills of the US retail workforce and developing ways to make it easier for front-line workers to advance their careers. Through the end of FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation invested more than $59 million nationally and collaborated with leading nonprofits, employers, government agencies and educational institutions such as The League of Innovation and the Aspen Institute.
Walmart is the first retailer with an approved science-based target emissions-reduction plan. The company aims to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18 percent by 2025. The retailer recently announced that it will also work with its suppliers to reduce CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions from upstream and downstream Scope 3 sources by one billion tons (a gigaton) between 2015 and 2030.
Additionally, Walmart aspires to eliminate reliance on fossil fuel-based energy sources by meeting its needs with 100 percent renewable energy. By 2025, Walmart aims to power 50 percent of its operations with renewable energy. At the end of FY2017, approximately 26 percent of Walmart’s electricity needs globally were supplied by renewable sources, including more than 460 onsite and offsite projects in operation or under development globally.
Walmart is also making progress toward its zero waste goal, following the U.S. EPA Solid Waste Hierarchy and with a primary focus on waste reduction and donations (reuse) before recycling or disposal. By the end of FY2017, Walmart overall diverted from landfills 82 percent of materials previously considered waste in Walmart US operations.
This includes the diversion of 79 percent of materials from store operations in Vermont. The company continues to work toward eliminating state barriers to efficient waste diversion, in an effort to reach its zero waste goals and make it easier for other companies to follow suit.
In FY2017, Walmart completed a $10 million commitment for the Walmart US Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which focuses on the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the US. In January, 2017, $3 million in grants was awarded to six academic research institutions for their work in advancing innovation in textile manufacturing and addressing present challenges to domestic manufacturing.
Through Acres for America, a public-private partnership with National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Walmart continues to conserve lands of national significance, protect critical fish and wildlife habitat and benefit people and local economies. The program has far surpassed its original goal to permanently conserve one acre of wildlife habitat for every acre of land developed by Walmart Stores, with more than one million acres protected in the first 10 years of the partnership—an area comparable to Grand Canyon National Park. In FY2017, more than 82,000 acres were added to the tally of protected lands.
In FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation invested more than $1.4 billion in communities worldwide, including more than $460,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to non-profits throughout Vermont.
Local non-profits awarded grants from the Walmart State Giving Program, one of several Foundation giving programs that play an essential role in the Foundation’s mission to create opportunities so people can live better.
These include: Barre Area Senior Center, Inc (Barre) - $25,000 for Barre Area Senior Center; University of Vermont Medical Center (Burlington) - $25,000 for Health Care Shares A Farm to Patient Collaboration; Northeast Kingdom Human Services (Newport) - $30,000 for Specialty Team program.
As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is uniquely positioned to support organizations that are on the front lines in the fight against hunger. In addition to donating more than 108,000 pounds of food to local Vermont food banks – equivalent to 90,000 meals – Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $50 million toward hunger relief in FY2017, including $54,000 for after school and breakfast in the classroom programs in Vermont.
Walmart also engages customers across the country in making an impact on hunger in their local communities. In the US, Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations teamed up with customers and participating suppliers to support Feeding America through the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign, raising more than $17 million in funds in FY2017, including more than $26,000 for Vermont Food Bank in Barre, a Feeding America affiliate.
Walmart associates are deeply engaged in their communities and in FY2017, associates overall volunteered more than 1.2 million hours generating more than $12 million in Walmart donations, including more than 350 hours with local non-profits and charitable causes in Vermont, marking another way in which the company supports and impacts the local communities it serves.
In FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation supported communities after 30 disasters. A total of $6.8 million in cash donations was given specifically for disaster preparedness and relief.
2017 Vermont Innovations and Investments
Walmart’s most recent earnings report shows continued positive momentum in US sales, customer traffic and customer feedback, which is attributed to many of the innovations and investments the company has been making in store operations and its workforce.
Walmart‘s planned investments in Vermont this year include remodeling the Williston store.
Walmart’s 2017 investment plans to build on Walmart’s growth last year in Vermont.
2016 Highlights included:
Opened two new stores, Derby and an on-site relocation & expansion in Bennington; launched Walmart Pay statewide.
About Walmart in Vermont
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online and through their mobile devices. In Vermont we serve customers at 6 retail units and online through Walmart.com and Jet.com. “We are proud to employ 1,273 associates in Vermont.”
Walmart supports local businesses, spending $287.8 million with Vermont suppliers in FY16, which supported 2,543 supplier jobs.
Source: MONTPELIER, VT, May 30, 2017— Walmart