Top 10 ways Walmart made a difference in 2011

This is a detailed examination of our aspirational environmental and social responsibility goals. We are committed to transparency and invite you to spend time with our report. But our customers constantly tell us that they are pressed for time, so, with that in mind, here is our Top 10 list of achievements for 2011.

Reduced waste by 80 percent

In 2011, we kept 80.9 percent of all waste generated by our U.S. operations out of landfills. This has the potential to prevent 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. Our zero-waste-to-landfill program returned more than $231 million to the business last year through a combination of increased recycling revenue and decreased expenses. We are also making progress globally. For example, our stores in China and Brazil diverted 52 percent of operational waste from landfills last year. ASDA, our U.K. operator, now sends zero food waste to landfills.

Expanded locally grown produce

Over the last year, we have increased the amount of locally grown produce we sell by 97 percent, and it now accounts for more than 10 percent of all produce sold in our U.S. stores. We define locally grown as "grown and sold" in the same state. We are pursuing a goal, set in 2010, to double the amount of locally grown produce we sell in the U.S. by the end of 2015.

Supported women around the world

In 2011, we announced the women's economic empowerment initiative. We committed to sourcing $20 billion from women-owned business in the U.S. and doubling our sourcing globally. We pledged to expand our successful retail training programs to help 400,000 women around the world. Support for these programs will come from more than $100 million in grants from the Walmart Foundation and direct donations from Walmart's international businesses.

Saved customers $1 billion

We achieved our goal to save families in the U.S. $1 billion on fresh fruits and vegetables in 2011. We will continue to make healthier food choices more affordable by reducing or eliminating the price premium on more than 350 better-for-you items. Such items include low-sodium lunchmeat, reduced-fat peanut butter and fat-free salad dressing.

Announced Great for You icon

In January 2012, we unveiled our Great For You icon to help consumers easily and quickly identify healthier food options. It will appear in Walmart U.S. produce areas this summer and on Great Value and Marketside items that meet nutrition criteria beginning this fall. The icon will also be made available to national-brand products that qualify.

Utilized 1.1 billion kWh of renewable energy

The United States' EPA Green Power Partnership program now ranks Walmart as the second-largest onsite green power generator in the U.S. Renewable projects provide 1.1 billion kilowatt hours annually, or about 4 percent of electricity for Walmart buildings globally. The grid supplies another 18 percent, for a total of 22 percent renewable electricity as of 2010. Walmart has 180 renewable energy projects in operation or under development, and we continue to test solar, fuel cells, microwind, offsite wind projects, green power purchases and much more. We are learning and making adjustments on our way toward one day being powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

Integrated Sustainability Index

In 2011, we began to integrate a Sustainability Index into our business. This new retail tool will assess and improve the sustainability of our products. We have worked alongside The Sustainability Consortium and its more than 90 members — including suppliers, academics, NGOs and other retailers — to develop the research and metrics behind the index. Over the last year, we used these metrics to develop our first category scorecards to help our buyers evaluate products, and we expect to develop scorecards in up to 100 major categories by the end of 2012.

Responded to natural disasters

We responded to the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami, flooding in Mexico and the Midwest, Texas and coastal wildfires, southern tornadoes and more. Walmart continues to respond quickly to disaster, in keeping with our commitment established by Hurricane Katrina. After our initial $5 million donation to the relief effort in Japan, we partnered with government and relief organizations to provide food, water, blankets, flashlights and tents. After the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo., we donated $1 million and provided residents with free school supplies, socks, T-shirts, health screenings and other staples.

Growing global direct farm program

We expanded our global direct farm program which supports small- and medium-sized farmers and their communities. In Central America, our signature Tierra Fértil program supported the development of 3,770 farmers in 2011, in such areas as seed and crop quality, soil use and more. Walmart Mexico trained more than 2,440 farmers and farm workers in Best Agricultural Practices, and our program in India expanded to include 3,700 farmers. By selling directly to Walmart and eliminating the middleman, farmers earn a better price for their products, increase their incomes and receive expert advice on crop planning.

Nurtured diversity and inclusion

We continued to foster a diverse and inclusive culture, and, in 2011, women accounted for nearly 53 percent of 179,000 hourly promotions in our U.S. stores. In the last five years, we have increased our number of female store managers by 94 percent, and nearly 200,000 female associates have been with us for 10 years or longer. Women at the C-suite level advanced in the U.S. and internationally over the last year, including the promotion of two female CEOs. During this same time, we've also increased the number of store managers who are people of color by 31 percent.