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

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. 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
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

FertilizerFertilizer Outlook And Technology Conference Set For No…
September 30, 2014
Conference participants can expect to gain perspective on the outlook for agriculture and major fertilizer materials and inputs from industry experts. Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Acquires Micronutrient Supplier
September 30, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has acquired QC Corp., a producer and supplier of granular and dry micronutrients and ferrous sulfate products. Read More
Eric SfiligojHearing From Young Ag Voices
September 30, 2014
Potential future leaders in ag retail had the chance to shine at the recent Mid America CropLife Association meeting. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
September 30, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More