Working With Walmart

In late April, Wal­mart brought together a number of its key supplier partners to participate in its first-ever Sustainable Product Expo. The assembled partners represented more than $100 billion in sales to Walmart, and not surprisingly, a number of these participants came from the ranks of food production. Among them were Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Cargill, General Mills and Monsanto.

From discussions at the Expo, these companies made pledges to help Walmart deliver on its sustainability goals related to reducing use of resources, improving efficiency and creating transparency in the food production channel. “Sustainability for all” is Walmart’s battle cry.

Manuel Gomez, vice president of sustainability for Walmart, asserted that “no one should have to choose between products that are sustainable and products they can afford. We want to make sustainability easy by taking the guesswork out of values-based shopping. Accessibility and transparency really put the customer in the driver’s seat.”

Certainly, this is a long-term, slow-burn process for Walmart — but it is a process that is well underway, and leading agriculture companies are fully engaged. And, Walmart has shown a willingness to learn as much as possible and be consultative with the market as the process moves forward.

I did not attend the Expo, but in reviewing post-event materials I had not seen references to The Fertilizer Institute (TFI). I knew that they had been actively engaged in the past with Walmart on the topic of fertilizer use in ag, so I asked Kathy Mathers, vice president of public affairs at TFI, if they had a seat at the table.

Sure enough, TFI was engaged behind the scenes at the Expo. “We had a staff member, as well as several TFI member company representatives and a representative of the International Plant Nutrition Institute, in attendance,” Mathers explained. TFI reps have been communicating with Walmart’s sustainability team over the past nine months, she added.

“While there is still a lot of work left to do on this front, the Expo provided for open dialogue and in some cases, the opportunity to meet with Walmart, its supply chain partners and the environmental non-governmental organizations who are playing a role in this effort.”

Mathers continued: “By their own admission, members of Walmart’s sustainability team are not ag experts and at this juncture, so we are happy to be in the background and work to further educate them about fertilizer and its science-based, site-specific use through the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship. This work won’t happen overnight, but it is necessary that it continue.”

Through education and collaboration, the hope is that, in time, Walmart will fully understand that agriculture is working hard to optimize fertilizer efficiency, and that simply demanding a blanket rate reduction is not a sustainable approach to crop production.

Walmart is challenging its partners — and essentially, the entire food production channel — to engage in continuous improvement that leads to greater sustainability. We applaud the efforts that companies and organizations in ag are making to ensure Walmart makes sustainability decisions that make sense while also making a difference.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More