Message from Mike Duke

This is now the fourth time that Walmart has reported its progress with sustainability, and regular readers of this report will see that we have renamed it the Global Responsibility Report. This change reflects the new social and environmental dimensions we have added to our efforts, as well as new data and metrics to track and measure our progress.

We believe transparency and accountability are part of being a good and responsible company, and that they also make us a better company. Through this report, we are strengthening our commitment to transparency and holding ourselves accountable for what we do within our company and for our communities. We also know there are still many opportunities ahead for Walmart. Our track record of success, and the strong NGO partnerships for which we are so grateful, give us confidence that we will make the most of those opportunities.

Over the past year, our company has delivered on my challenge to "broaden and accelerate" our commitment to sustainability. Today at Walmart, sustainability is more global and more inclusive of a broader range of environmental and especially social issues. For instance, regular readers will find more information on sustainable agriculture, global greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain, a bold commitment to end hunger in America and the My Sustainability Plan toolkit we announced at the Clinton Global Initiative.

You will also see in these pages how our "Sustainability 360" model continues to tap the full potential of our company – through our operations, customers, associates, suppliers and communities. We do not view our sustainability work as a philanthropic add-on to what we do, but as a core part of who we are. We are pleased that the global conversation around sustainability is moving toward this point of view, and when we hear people talk about "responsible consumption" and about creating "shared value" for both business and society, we feel like we have been pioneers at Walmart. It is our goal to continue to lead in both the difference we make and how we make that difference.

We have made progress in many critical areas. With the world facing scarcer natural resources and higher energy and commodity costs, it is essential that Walmart operate as efficiently as possible, so we can continue to deliver everyday low prices to our customers. That is why I am pleased with our progress in fleet efficiency, where we have realized a 65 percent improvement over our 2005 baseline in the U.S. and a 33.5 percent improvement over our 2006 baseline in Japan. We have also continued to make stores and distribution centers more efficient through cutting-edge technologies, such as LED lighting systems, thin-film solar and hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts. This is driving results all around the world. For example, Walmart China's newest store prototype is designed to consume 40 percent less energy.

We also took a major step last year when we set a goal of eliminating 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our global supply chain by the end of 2015. We are already working with suppliers in more than 20 product categories. Just by helping dye mills in China be more energy efficient, we believe we can eliminate between one and two tons of GHG emissions for every ton of fabric produced. This is great for the environment. It also helps these suppliers be even more efficient operators.

We have worked especially hard on the social aspects of sustainability. We know we can play such a positive role in communities around the world. And if we are going to be at our best as a business, we have to recruit, develop and retain the best people and leaders. Whether it is our Bharti Walmart training centers in India, which have already prepared nearly 5,000 students for careers in retail, or the Women's Leadership Councils that are now active in all of our markets, it is a priority at Walmart to give associates and communities from all backgrounds the opportunity to grow and succeed. It is also a personal priority of mine.

Walmart has also taken on big issues facing society, such as increasing access to healthier foods. Earlier this year, we had the honor of standing with first lady Michelle Obama as we pledged to reduce sodium by 25 percent and added sugars by 10 percent and remove all remaining industrially produced trans fats in thousands of food products offered in our U.S. stores by 2015. We also pledged to save customers $1 billion per year on fresh fruits and vegetables. We simply do not believe that customers should have to choose between healthier food and food they can afford.

At the same time, Walmart is committed to fighting hunger in America, and we have pledged $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations through 2015 toward that goal. This work has built directly upon our 360 approach to sustainability. As the nation's largest grocer, we are donating more than 1 billion pounds of food. We are also using our logistics expertise to make food banks and distribution centers more efficient. And our associates have mobilized with great passion to serve their local communities.

As we have made progress on environmental issues and social issues independently of each other, we have also found ways to bring them together. Our global sustainable agriculture commitment is a terrific example. By the end of 2015, we have pledged to sell $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small and medium farmers. We will also train 1 million farmers – half of which will be women – in sustainable farming techniques. This will increase farmer incomes by 10 percent to 15 percent, lead to more efficient use of pesticides, fertilizer and water, and provide fresher food to our customers. That is powerfully bringing environmental and social sustainability together. It is no wonder, as I travel around the world, that I hear so many positive things from leaders about Walmart's expanded commitment to sustainable agriculture.

It has now been more than five years since Walmart launched its sustainability efforts with three broad goals: 1) to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, 2) to create zero waste and 3) to sell products that sustain people and the environment. Although we are not there yet, I am proud of how far we have come. I personally want to thank all the associates, suppliers and NGOs that have helped Walmart lead in ways that few could have imagined. Sustainability has reminded our company that there is a difference that only Walmart can make, and it is our responsibility to make that difference every day.

At the end of his life, now almost two decades ago, Sam Walton looked ahead, as he so often did, and wrote: "I'd like to believe that as Walmart continues to thrive and grow, it can come to live up to what someone once called us: The Lighthouse of the Ozarks. Only I hope we can spread the concept further than our home region here in the foothills. We have to study more ways we can give back to our communities. We're already studying ways to be more socially conscious all around." It is my hope that this past year marked a time when we delivered more than ever on Sam Walton's hope for Walmart.

Michael T. Duke
President and Chief Executive Officer
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.