From the official statement on Wal-Mart’s Corporate Sustainability Hub:
“Fertilizer Optimization is a top sustainability priority for our food business. Rising to the challenge of feeding 9 billion people requires the entire value chain to produce more while minimizing the impact of their actions. Fertilizer optimization can be achieved by increasing nutrient use efficiency while also achieving productivity goals. Walmart depends on the American farmer to efficiently produce the key ingredients in many of our products and we want to do our part to help ensure this productivity continues. You cannot grow food without fertilizer and it is a crucial component of our food supply. However, over or improper use can negatively impact the environment and the grower’s pocketbook, making it a potentially costly element in food production.
The supply chain needs food companies (our direct suppliers) to signal unified interest, support, and demand for programs, tools, and information that can help producers continuously improve and optimize their fertilizer use, yield, and profitability. That’s why we have directly engaged a dozen food categories and even more suppliers in a consistent, coordinated fashion to connect our suppliers to their farmer-partners and improve cost effectiveness, as well as helping them meet their own sustainability goals in ways they cannot do alone.
Suppliers that depend on commodity grains like corn, wheat, and soy in their products are putting fertilizer optimization plans in place with clear milestones for progress and performance measured by the Sustainability Index. We estimate these suppliers have the potential to reach more than 10 million acres of farmland by 2020 and that this initiative will help ensure a safe, affordable and sustainable supply chain by improving fertilizer use efficiency and soil health. For areas where fertilizer use efficiency is below optimum, a goal of 30% increase in use efficiency relative to current levels is possible, resulting in reducing the loss of fertilizer nutrients to the environment and improved farmer profitability. This can be accomplished by implementing fertilizer best management practices related to right source, rate, time and placement. In addition to reducing nutrient transport to our water supply and improving soil health, we estimate this gain in efficiency could also reduce over 7 MMT of greenhouse gases.
We expect our top food supplier partners to recognize, support, and grow these programs by developing plans with clear milestones and timelines. Our merchant and supplier teams will be measured by their level of integration of sustainability into standard business processes.”