ET: On your website you say you are working on bringing more sustainable products to your shelves, by providing affordable fair trade coffee and organic certified produce. Fair trade and organic usually means paying a premium. Do you think Walmart customers care enough about these issues to pay that premium?
B: Our customers have shared that they generally will not pay more for sustainable products and we believe they shouldn’t have to. At Walmart we are using our size and scale to make the products we sell more sustainable.
ET: You have stores all over the states and the world. Have you found it easier to implement clean technologies in certain states or countries?
B: In many parts of the world, regulatory barriers prevent Walmart from directly purchasing electricity from wind farms, and other barriers make onsite renewables cost-prohibitive. We work with stakeholders across government, nonproﬁt and multilateral organizations to make the grid as renewable as possible, as fast as possible. In some cases, promoting aﬀordable renewable power may include participating in utilities’ green power purchase programs; in other cases, purchases are made through competitive green power market sources.
ET: Where has this happened?
B: We have participated in these programs in two markets (Canada and U.S.), resulting in more than 500 million hours of renewable energy annually. In addition, some of our markets and/or regions are well suited for maximum renewable penetration, and, in those markets, our percentage of renewable electricity is much higher. For example in Texas and California, Walmart’s renewables meet 28 percent of our electricity needs and in Mexico, its 17 percent. Neither of these two figures include grid electricity.