Green Giant

Walmart Canada opens up the largest sustainable refrigerated food distribution center in Canada.


“With our sustainability orientation, we engage our new hires from the very first day they come in,” says Marnie Banting, national procurement manager, SCM. “They’re made aware of why sustainability is important for the organization, the community and for themselves as team members. We train our team members on how to achieve sustainability goals and provide them with the tools they need to achieve them, and we hold them accountable for attaining their goals.”

Banting says a formal sustainability committee, comprised of management and team members, encourages ideas from employees and then determines if and how they will be implemented. Team members are rewarded for ideas and actions that support facility goals with preferred parking spaces, recognition among peers and other prizes.

“We have ‘go green’ teams that meet on a regular basis and we build events around sustainability,” says Banting. “It’s really a source of pride for everyone.”

Walmart Canada continues to work steadfastly with its suppliers to increase its logistics efficiency and to incorporate sustainable practices and initiatives into the processes, operations and mindset of its third-party suppliers. The company has instituted no idling policies in all its stores and distribution centers; improved fill rates on trucks and increased use of long-combination vehicles.

“In Canada, we don’t own our trucks, but work with 3PLs,” says Garbutt. “Together with our suppliers, we are working to reduce the amount of fuel used to transport goods. By doing things like reducing the number of ‘empty miles’ our trucks drive and optimizing how merchandise is stacked in our trailers, we bring our products to the store as efficiently as possible.”

Where it makes sense, the company has established flow centers in certain provinces to ensure efficiencies when delivering products to local stores.

Several times a year, the company gathers its logistics suppliers to share best practices and recognizes carriers annually for sustainable operations, processes and corporate commitment.

“Balzac demonstrates that there’s no need to wait for sustainability,” says Garbutt. “The technology solutions are here and ready to put into practice. We believe this facility showcases the immediate returns of investing in green innovations and the positive impact of a sustainability mindset.

“We’ve learned many things from this experience that we intend to incorporate into other distribution centers. We’re already in the process of retrofitting our distribution centers with an aim to make them 20 percent more efficient,” she adds. “And we’re committed to share the results of our innovation, including with our competitors. We aren’t trying to compete on sustainability—the environment is too big a problem for any one company to solve on its own. At Walmart we believe the more we share, the better for everyone.”

 

 

 

 

 

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