Stories: Down the Chain
Walmart de México y Centroamérica - Mexico City
Walmart de México y Centroamérica Partner Profile Q&A
Walmart de México y Centroamérica—the retail chain’s largest company outside the United States—centers their new, community-focused approach to doing business around sustainability. As a brand committed to low prices, their first steps in this process logically began with cost-saving investments in renewable energy, like solar panels and wind farms.
However, Walmart’s global office has set much larger goals to reduce waste and sell products that sustain the environment, which prompted the Mexico and Central America arm to take a closer look at the materials in its garments. Working with the Cotton LEADS℠ program, they soon discovered how U.S. cotton could become an integral part of meeting these sustainability commitments.
Read our Q&A with Walmart de México y Centroamérica to learn more about their company and how they’re using cotton’s sustainability story to support and amplify their own.
Q. What are Walmart de México y Centroamérica’s overall sustainability goals and why is it important to you as a brand?
A. While the size of our company entails great responsibility, it also gives us the opportunity to use our scale for good. In 2020, Walmart de México y Centroamérica communicated its ambition to become a regenerative company by 2040. We are on the path to make our ambition a reality, using our sustainability strategy that integrates three pillars:
- Mitigate climate change
- Contribute to creating a circular economy
- Conserve natural Capital
We set multiple goals under each of these pillars, and communicate them and our results in our 2021 Report (page 181-183). We understand sustainability as a strategic pillar to generate environmental value and contribute to improving the quality of life of families in Mexico and Central America.
Q. Can you tell us how cotton fits into Walmart de México y Centroamérica’s larger sustainability strategy?
A. Part of our sustainability strategy consists of balancing the needs of our customers while decreasing our impact on the environment. We aim to offer quality everyday clothes to our customers that can be used many times. By doing this, we cover our customer’s needs and extend the lifecycle of our garments, building-in positive impacts to the environment, as we offer quality options that reduce the need for customers to buy new clothes.
Using cotton is a large part of this quality aspect of our sustainability strategy. Also, cotton fiber is so versatile that it is used in practically all the categories of clothing that we handle at Walmart de México y Centroamérica. Due to this, it is almost mandatory to look for sustainable programs with cotton since, being a natural fiber, it is always used our products in all seasons.
Q. Why did Walmart de México y Centroamérica decide to become a Cotton LEADS℠ partner?
A. As a company, we must consider not only the garment/article we buy, but also analyze and consider the entire process of the garment, from its raw material origin and through the entire chain of custody, all this in addition to the existing controls for quality and responsible sourcing. We have different initiatives to promote sustainability in our garments, and alongside sourcing seasonal products with recycled polyester, our adherence to Cotton LEADS℠ program is a large one.
Almost 85% of the clothing supply in Walmart de México y Centroamérica is from national suppliers and more than 90% of the cotton used to make the garments comes from the U.S. While studying the different sustainability options with the different teams in Walmart de México y Centroamérica, we saw that the Cotton LEADS℠ program was the most appropriate to guarantee our customers sustainable garments with cotton fibers.
Q. What prompted you to begin the campaign to include the Seal of Cotton® trademark and Cotton LEADS℠ tags last year? Can you describe the value of displaying both marks together in the same tag?
A. Customers in Mexico identify the Seal of Cotton® trademark as a quality item with natural fiber. This label will be included in the garments that meet the requirement so that customers can see that we sell quality items at Walmart de México y Centroamérica at a very good price.
We also communicated via social media channels to customers and stakeholders about the permanent garments we have available in Bodega Aurrera and Walmart stores that have the Cotton LEADS℠ mark.
Q. What do your customers think about your sustainability efforts? What do they know about and value about sustainability?
A. Sustainability is becoming more relevant to our customers, which is why it is important for the company to communicate the efforts we are conducting in sustainability that contribute to our ambition of becoming a regenerative company by 2040. In addition, we use the scale of our media channels to create awareness about topics like climate change, the circular economy and natural capital. We are aware that collaborative participation between the different sectors of society is essential to sustainability and to scale positive impacts on the planet.
Q. What would you like customers to know about your sustainability efforts?
A. We use multiple communication tools to increase awareness about sustainability in general and to keep our stakeholders updated on Walmart de México y Centroamérica’s own strategic sustainability efforts. Some of these include:
- Sustainability Hub “Por un Planeta Mejor” (For a Better Planet): In this hub we communicate about the sustainability initiatives we have as a company, like projects promoting the culture of recycling or aiming to reduce GHG emissions in our global supply chains. Through it we also share achievements and different ways our customers and other stakeholders can participate. It includes a blog covering topics like plastics reduction, health crisis and climate crisis, habits to take care of the environment, and recycling, among others. Recently, we published a post about “Fashionable Garments and Accessories that Take Care of the Planet,” where we provide information about environmental impacts of textile product manufacturing, and feature our products with lower environmental impact that hold the Cotton LEADS℠ seal.
- Podcast, “Juntos por un Planeta Mejor” (Together for a Better Planet): In 2021 we started this project with an episode about recycling, with specific focus on “How to Contribute to a More Sustainable World from Home, through Recycling.” The second episode is about “Fashionable Garments That Take Care of the Planet,” covering a wide range of topics regarding sustainability in the fashion industry, from the impacts of fabrics and manufacturing processes, all the way to what Walmart de México y Centroamérica is doing to reduce the environmental impacts of textile products.
- Social Media: We created a social media campaign talking about the importance of forests and the actions the company is taking to help manage, preserve, and restore our natural resources. We feature sustainable seasonal garments, and post updates and engage suppliers in Project Gigaton, our initiative to reduce or avoid GHG emissions equivalent to 1 gigaton in our global supply chains, by 2030.
Q. What would you say to other companies who are considering making a shift to cotton or becoming a Cotton LEADS℠ partner?
A. Faced with the risk of overexploitation of our natural resources, it is important that the different sectors of society take action in an efficient and coordinated way to adopt sustainable practices. Collaboration is a key element to help manage, preserve and restore natural resources and achieve a sustainable future. The Cotton LEADS℠ program is a solid option to promote sustainability practices along cotton’s chain of custody, reducing environmental impacts and promoting a responsible management of this natural resource.
With the Cotton LEADS℠ mark, we are able to communicate our support for sustainable cotton production to our customers. As part of the commercialization of clothing, and the impact that producing these items generates on the environment, it is very important that we participate in initiatives that help take care of our planet, decreasing environmental impacts and creating more awareness about the use of these materials among our customers.