Walmart Inc., Bentonville, Ark., and Schneider Electric, Andover, Mass., announced a new collaboration that will provide increased access to renewable energy for Walmart’s U.S.-based suppliers, enabling them to lead on climate action. The initiative, called the Gigaton Power Purchase Agreements (GPPA) Program, is designed to raise awareness among Walmart’s suppliers about renewable energy purchases and accelerate renewable energy adoption by participating suppliers through aggregate power purchase agreements.
For over a decade, Walmart has been working with suppliers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others to inspire positive change across global supply chains. In its own operations, Walmart has set a goal to be powered by 50% renewable energy by 2025. Currently, the company powers an estimated 29% of its operations with renewable energy.
The PPA Program directly supports Walmart’s Project Gigaton, an initiative aimed at avoiding one gigaton (one billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide emissions from its global value chain by 2030. To date, more than 2,300 suppliers from 50 countries are participating in Project Gigaton. Suppliers have reported a cumulative 230 million metric tons of avoided emissions since 2017, more than 20% of the goal, through energy, waste, packaging, agriculture, forests and product use and design. Supplier participation in the program is voluntary.
“The Gigaton PPA Program is the kind of innovation-in-action needed to help our suppliers take the next step towards low-carbon emissions, helping to build a more sustainable future for our communities,” said Zach Freeze, senior director, strategic initiatives¾sustainability, Walmart. “Through Schneider Electric’s work with our suppliers, the program aims to democratize access to renewable energy and accelerate its use with our supplier base.”
According to Walmart, while corporate renewable energy procurement is on the rise, the overall number of companies involved is still relatively low, with just over 100 unique companies participating in the U.S. renewable market since 2008, citing data from the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Deal Tracker.
Some of the challenges to accessing renewable energy for smaller companies include the lack of size needed to approach the market individually, insufficient education on the specific mechanics of renewable energy transactions and guidance on how to secure renewable energy. Walmart’s Gigaton PPA Program is designed to help suppliers overcome these and other barriers.