At Wal-Mart, everything we do flows from our purpose of saving people money so they can live better. This purpose sets the standard for how we deliver on our business results and the expectation that we will improve lives around the world. We embrace our responsibility as a global company to lead and collaborate on issues important to associates, customers, members, suppliers and shareholders.
We have defined three areas – associate opportunity, sustainability and responsible sourcing – that are critical to Wal-Mart now and in the future. Beyond these commitments, we also make a difference in our communities every day by giving back, by creating volunteer opportunities for our associates to give of their time and talent, as well as through the resources of the Wal-Mart Foundation.
At Wal-Mart, we created more than 63,000 jobs worldwide this past year, including 33,000 in the United States. Just as important, we will create thousands more again this year. These are good jobs that offer competitive wages and benefits.
A job with Wal-Mart is one with a future. We invest in our associates through career development and training to advance. We open the door to career path flexibility and offer associates the chance to build a long-term career. Today, thousands of associates around the world are managing stores and clubs because they advanced through the Company after starting in entry-level positions.
Wal-Mart has both a responsibility and an opportunity to be a leader in sustainability. "Sustainability 360" is our Companywide effort to take sustainability beyond our direct footprint to encompass Wal-Mart's associates, suppliers, communities and customers. Through this initiative, we are helping our suppliers and customers become more energy-efficient and independent.
After evaluating our own environmental impact, we set goals to supply 100 percent of our energy needs through renewable sources, to generate zero waste and to promote markets for environmentally sound products. Already, we have made progress, which will make Wal-Mart even more efficient, innovative and competitive.
Last year, for example, Wal-Mart set out to make its most energy-intensive products 25 percent more efficient by 2011 and to double the sales of items that make homes more energy-efficient.
Our U.S. logistics team saved almost $200 million last year through productivity and fuel-efficiency programs. These initiatives not only saved money, but also improved energy usage and reduced our emissions. Equally as important, they are now a permanent part of our transportation program.
Increasingly, we feature environmentally friendly products in our stores and clubs. From Alabama to Mexico City, we prefer to sell locally grown produce and sustainably harvested wood products. We recycle everything possible – from cardboard to plastic – and are pleased that more and more customers are using our sustainable, reusable bags.
As the purchasing agent for our customers, Wal-Mart's goal is to encourage improvements in sustainability and ethical practices among suppliers. We are committed to ethical sourcing to improve the quality of life for the workers who make and grow the merchandise and food we sell.
At our Beijing Sustainability Summit in October, we made it clear that we expect suppliers to continue to comply with ethical standards and environmental laws. We are strengthening relationships with suppliers that share our commitment to responsible sourcing, innovation, efficiency and sustainability.
Giving Back to Communities
The Wal-Mart Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs that help people live better, primarily by expanding access to education, health care, and job opportunities, as well as by promoting responsible sourcing. We can make the greatest impact on communities by supporting causes important to our customers and neighborhoods. We also continue to help communities rebuild after natural disasters with financial support and donations of merchandise necessary to recovery efforts.