Walmart Supports Programme to Decarbonise Food Supply Chain

By Kitty Wheeler
Walmart, Albertsons and Con Edison are on a decarbonisation mission.
Programme to decarbonise the food supply chain supported by Walmart, Albertsons and Con Edison.

Major food industry players Walmart, Albertsons and Con Edison and are helping a leading climate tech organisation to decarbonise the food supply chain.

This programme, launched by The Clean Fight, is dedicated to solutions focused on decarbonising the catering industry by speeding the adoption and scale of high-impact climate tech solutions. 

The initiative is aimed at any business that provides on-site food, drink or accommodation, including hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets.

The Clean Fight designs and runs high-impact programmes for growth-stage companies to accelerate the scaling of existing climate tech solutions, helping to close the adoption and access gap.

The organisation says that, although attention is paid to the significant environmental impacts of the agricultural system, “the greenhouse gas emissions of the post-farm food supply chain are often overlooked”. 

According to The Clean Fight, companies supporting the programme were selected because they offer “ready-to-install and high-impact technologies that address key sustainability challenges in the food industry”. These, it says, range from refrigeration and novel food preservation, to heating, ventilation and air conditioning, heat recovery, and cold chain energy management. 

Clayton Casteel, Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships at Walmart, says: “As we work toward decarbonising our operations across Walmart, scalable, cost-effective innovations remain a critical driver in our transformation. 

Clayton Casteel, Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships at Walmart.

He continues: “We are thrilled to learn more about these clean tech innovators and look forward to collaborating with them to explore potential opportunities as part of The Clean Fight’s Accelerator programme”.

The newest companies that will help this industry utilise their solutions include Air Water Global and Bedrock Energy.

Air Water manufactures industrial gases, chemicals, energy, medical, agricultural and food products. Their solution is to increase the storage and shelf life of fresh produce and other food items while reducing the need for energy intensive air purifiers and contaminants.

Bedrock Energy employs drilling and construction technologies that improve access to geothermal installations for urban real estate properties. They provide efficient clean geothermal heating and cooling systems.

Collaboration on sustainable food supply chains

As customer collaborators, these organisations are actively engaging with The Clean Fight to develop and implement tailored decarbonisation strategies. 

This entails conducting comprehensive assessments of company operations, identifying areas for improvement and implementing innovative solutions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. 

They are also exploring renewable energy sources, optimising energy efficiency, and fostering a culture of environmental responsibility within their respective organisations.

The Clean Fight says this collaborative approach not only benefits the planet but also “positions these companies as industry leaders in the realm of corporate social responsibility”.

Here, we look at the major food companies who have joined the programme as customer collaborators. 

Carrier 

Carrier is a provider of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, and owns brands such as: Automated Logic, Carrier Residential, and Noresco. Carrier also works with customers like Walmart, Boeing, and Microsoft.

Carrier aims to decarbonise the food supply chain through natural refrigerant technologies, and currently is utilising CO2 refrigerant systems, sustainable design software for buildings, and it deploys energy management tools, transport refrigeration units running on cryogenic energy storage. 

The company aims to reach gigaton operational carbon footprint reduction by 2030.

Con Edison

Con Edison is a major utility company that aims to decarbonise the food supply chain through investments in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency initiatives, collaborating with food companies to reduce their carbon footprint. 

The company utilises technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage systems to generate clean electricity. 

Con Edison also promotes energy-efficient refrigeration and lighting systems in food production and distribution facilities. 

Additionally, Con Edison encourages the adoption of electric vehicles for transportation in the food supply chain.

Walmart

Walmart aims to decarbonise its food supply chain through measures like converting to renewable energy sources, optimising logistics, and encouraging sustainable farming practices among suppliers.

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It utilises blockchain technology to enhance supply chain transparency and traceability, and employs data analytics and artificial intelligence to minimise waste and optimise operations.

Walmart owned brands include Great Value, Equate, and Sam's Choice. 

NYC/EDC

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC/EDC) aims to decarbonise the food supply chain by investing in sustainable technologies and practices, by focusing on reducing emissions from transportation, refrigeration, and waste. 

NYC/EDC owns companies like GrowNYC and partners with organisations promoting urban agriculture and composting. 

The company utilises data analytics, blockchain, and Internet of Things for supply chain optimisation and traceability, and supports the adoption of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient equipment, and circular economy principles in the food industry.

Albertsons 

Albertsons operates stores under banners like Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw's. 

Albertsons aims to decarbonise its food supply chain through initiatives focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable refrigerants, and food waste reduction. 

The company leverages technology, such as centralised energy management systems, LED lighting retrofits, and advanced refrigeration systems to curb emissions, and collaborates with suppliers and industry groups to drive sustainability across the value chain.

Food companies have long been urged to make their supply chains more sustainable. Last year, Sustainable Food Consultant Sarah Blanchard, discussed challenges the catering industry faces with sister magazine, Supply Chain Digital.

She says: “Such companies struggle to communicate effectively with suppliers,” and that “this is a lost opportunity, when at least 80% of a fast moving consumer goods brand’s environmental impact lies in its supply chain.”

She elaborated that common hurdles for catering industries include first understanding sustainability requirements, then applying them in complex supply chains, and diverging sustainability priorities within organisations and teams.

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