At Walmart’s annual meeting on Friday, shareholders will vote on a measure that would force the company to reckon with one of the biggest — and best hidden — sources of climate pollution in its vast global operations: shipping.
No company moves as much stuff across the world’s oceans as Walmart does. The climate consequences are immense. Ferrying all those cheap TVs, T-shirts, toasters, and toys from Asian factories to ports in the U.S. and elsewhere releases huge amounts of greenhouse pollutants into the atmosphere, including both carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon, a kind of soot whose climate impacts are less well-understood that those of CO2, but almost certainly just as menacing.
A decade ago, Walmart began promoting itself as a sustainability leader. And, yet, in all the years since, the company has been silent about the environmental impacts of its massive shipping operations. It’s as though this core part of its business doesn’t exist. In fact, when Walmart reports its greenhouse gas emissions each year, it omits the pollution generated by shipping.
That could change on Friday. Shareholders will consider a resolution that w... Read more