No dedication? Spotlight on Retail Giants Walmart and Home Depot for Their Shipping Emissions

According to many rankings, Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, making it a major player in moving containers full of goods ranging from gas grills and memory foam mattresses to Cheerios and those mini eggs that multiply during Easter.

But it also means the shipping of its goods has a significant greenhouse gas footprint, with the nearly 851,000 teu of containers shipped for Walmart in 2021 accounting for 788,000 tons of CO2according to a new report.

The report by green groups Pacific Environment and, with technical analysis from consulting firm UMAS, found that Walmart was the US retail brand with the largest greenhouse gas emissions – including carbon, methane and nitrous oxide – from ocean shipping.

Walmart also had the highest shipping emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and black carbon.

The top three in the ranking of 18 major brands were also big-box chains. Target ranked second for greenhouse gas emissions, with 544,000 tons of CO2 emissions in 2021.

The Home Depot ranked third with 495,000 tons, making it the top shipping polluter among home improvement retailers.

Article continues below the ad

However, of the three, only Target has signed a public commitment to transition to zero-carbon shipping, the report said.

For Pacific Environment and, key members of the Ship It Zero coalition that aims to persuade major retail brands to set zero-emission shipping targets by 2030, the findings highlight that Walmart and Home Depot have tremendous market power to drive away container shipping. pushing fossil fuels.

Go first

Dawny’all Heydari, a climate campaigner with Pacific Environment, told Green Seas that brands now need to do business with carriers offering low-emission or zero-carbon ships.

“As part of regular contract negotiations, brands should ask carriers to demonstrate annual emissions reductions and stop doing business with carriers that refuse to offer climate solutions,” she said.

“In the short term, brands will need to move products to ships retrofitted with wind-assisted propulsion and battery electrification. In addition, brands should compete to sign contracts to ship products on the 50 carbon-neutral methanol-powered ships in the global order books for use by the middle of the decade.”

Home Depot says it is working with suppliers, such as AP Moller-Maersk, to identify opportunities for sustainable shipping. Photo: PTP

Walmart spokeswoman Mariel Messier said reducing emissions from shipping carriers is a priority for the company.

“We are working closely with logistics partners, NGOs and retail suppliers to scale up more sustainable approaches to moving products,” she said.

By the ‘gigaton’

She said Walmart is working with suppliers, including shipping carriers, to reduce emissions through Project GigatonTM, an initiative to reduce or avoid 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain by 2030. Walmart is now more than halfway to its goal, she said.

Home Depot spokeswoman Beth Marlowe said the company is working with strategic partners to identify opportunities and encourage sustainable solutions as they become available.

“For example, one of our largest carriers, Maersk, recently announced its commitment to net zero emissions by 2040,” she said.

But the environmental groups said all retail brands must make short-term commitments to phase out fossil fuels by setting year-over-year targets leading to 100% zero-emission shipping by 2030.

They also want retail brands to sign up to the Science Based Targets initiative, specifically for the marine industry, and publicize their achievements.

And the groups want companies to push carriers to reduce emissions year after year, by retrofitting ships to reduce emissions rather than waiting for a new generation of ships.

Pacific Environment and also said that while Target has joined the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Shipping pledge to use 100% zero-emission fuels by 2040, Target has not yet made “material progress” with the announcement.

“The company must do more to immediately reduce and eliminate its maritime emissions in the 2020s, the most decisive decade for climate action,” said Heydari.

“The company must accelerate its commitment by a decade – setting a goal of 100% zero-emission shipping by 2030 – to take responsibility for the major global emissions reductions that must take place over the next 7 years to reach a global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. to stay. aligned timeline.”

Nishatabbas Rehmatulla, a chief consultant at UMAS who worked on the report, said the demand side of the equation is often a driver of decarbonization, something seen in the wet and dry bulk sectors with the Sea Cargo Charter.

Nishatabbas Rehmatulla is Principal Advisor at UMAS and Senior Researcher at UCL Energy Institute. Photo: UMAS/UCL

“In the container sector, it is quite behind what has happened in the bulk sector,” he told Green Seas.

The Ship It Zero report does not stop at emissions that affect climate change. Pacific Environment and also pointed to air pollutants that are hazardous to health in port cities.

Walmart, for example, emits an estimated 11,900 tons of SOX in 2021 and 21,200 tons NOX.

James Stewart, a UMAS consultant who worked on the report, noted that 40% of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, where container ships spend much of their time in port or waiting to enter port.

“A natural hand-in-hand problem with marine emissions is that the population tends to live near the coast,” he said.


Podcast: Why the shipowners’ lobby wants a price on carbon ‘as soon as possible’

The International Chamber of Shipping wants the global shipping regulator to put a price on carbon by 2024.

But why so fast?

Simon Bennett, the deputy secretary general of ICS, told the Green Seas podcast that the push for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and fears of a proliferation of national carbon pricing mechanisms are behind the ambitious timeline.

Click here to listen to the episode, or subscribe to Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pandora, Spotify and Soundcloud.


‘Nuclear energy? Why not?’ Dark horse of energy mix finds backers

Harry Papachristou reports that an influential voice in Greek shipping praised the virtues of nuclear power, arguing that without it the industry will find it difficult to decarbonise.

“Nuclear power? Why not?” said John Kokarakis, a senior technical officer at Bureau Veritas, at Capital Link’s Cyprus Shipping Forum in Limassol.

“Electrification and decarbonisation go hand in hand,” said the technical director of the Southeast Europe, Black Sea and Adriatic classification society, adding that nuclear power is a way to find cheap electricity.

Click here to read the story.


Northern Norwegian ferries will have the largest marine fuel cell systems to date

PowerCell has signed a €19.2 million ($20.4 million) deal to supply hydrogen fuel cells to two ships operating Norway’s longest ferry route.

The order, obtained through a tender, represents the largest non-combustion fuel propulsion project to date for the marine industry, said the Swedish fuel cell supplier, which has spun off from Volvo.

Delivery of the two new ropaxes, which will be owned and operated by Norwegian transport group Torghatten Nord, will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Click here to read the story.

Leave a Comment