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Walmart’s goal for its trucks: No more diesel by 2040

Walmart’s goal of having zero emissions corporatewide by 2040 includes a plan to have all its trucks operate emissions-free as well.

Walmart, with its fleet of roughly 6,500 trucks and 9,000 drivers, was admittedly vague in its announcement earlier this week on how it gets there. But after making the broad commitment to zero emissions for all corporate activities by 20 years from now, it also published an accompanying document about some of its specific plans, including for its truck fleet. A spokeswoman for Walmart directed FreightWaves to the document in response to questions.

“The path to zero emissions will require equipment using fossil fuel combustion in its operation to be replaced with a sustainable zero emission fuel or electrified so that it can be powered by a renewable source,” Walmart said. 

But it also conceded that it was going to need help to get there. To reach its goals, Walmart said, “we need the support of many others, including the evolution of necessary infrastructure to support the common business use of advancements in electrification and other zero emissions technologies,” the company said, noting separately that it is “technology-agnostic.”

The technologies available to it, Walmart said, are renewable diesel, electric-battery and hydrogen fuels, though it said its list is not limited to that. It already has adopted many of these technologies in pilot programs in the U.S., but is also making deliveries via electric motorcycles “almost exclusively” in some areas of China and India. 

But getting rid of diesel-powered big rigs is a problem. “When it comes to long-haul/heavy-duty Class 8 tractors, the future is not as certain,” the company said. Solutions are in “early stages” but “Walmart is committed to being part of the solution. … We will continue to work with policymakers, utilities, transportation working groups and other organizations to align on a common future, articulate the necessary changes, and work collectively towards solutions that move us forward towards our vision of a zero emission transportation system.” 

Walmart had made a commitment back in 2005 to double its fleet efficiency by the end of 2015. In its statement, Walmart said it had met its goal though it did not say when the target was achieved. “We can deliver more than twice the volume of product per gallon of diesel than we could in 2005,” it said.

But efficiency isn’t going to be adequate to meet its goals, Walmart said. “Transportation related emissions make up a large portion of our total operational emissions and have the potential to grow as our business grows,” the company said. 

Walmart has dubbed its emissions reduction effort “Project Gigaton,” called that because the company’s goal is to “reduce or avoid” 1 gigaton–or 1 billion tons–of carbon emissions in the company’s supply chain by 2030. The company’s target is to cut its emissions by 25% by 2025 and by 65% by 2030, off a base year of 2015. The target then shifts to the zero-emissions goal of 2040.


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One Comment

  1. Stephen Webster

    If Walmart wanted to reduce emmions they could start by letting trucks come into parking at the D C at least 6 hours ahead of the appointment time . They need to provide 110 volt 15 amp or 20 amp plugs for truck drivers comfort. This is more important because of coronavirus so truck drivers can safely stay in their trucks with E logs.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.