Walmart steps up efforts to improve pollinator health and biodiversity

US Solar-owned, pollinator-friendly solar array in Minnesota. Photo courtesy Natural Resources Services / Fresh Energy.

Retail giant Walmart has started new initiatives to improve pollinator health and biodiversity in the regions in which it operates. These new pollinator commitments are aimed at a broader plan of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to meet their nature commitments, which is to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.

According to a blog post by Martin Mundo, SVP, General Merchandise Manager, Produce and Global Produce Sourcing, Walmart U.S, these commitments are “the largest pollinator health effort from a U.S. grocery retailer to-date, aiming to reduce several pollinator threats through promoting integrated pest management (IPM) practices and improving and expanding pollinator habitats.”

Pollinators are animals that move pollen and help in the transfer of genetic material that is important to the reproductive system of most flowering plants, a process that produces fruits, vegetables, and nuts. While bees are the most prominent pollinators, birds, bats, butterflies, and beetles are some other species that work as pollinators.

Unfortunately, the population of pollinators has been reducing over the last three decades due to factors such as loss of habitat, pests, climate change, increase in pollution, and indiscriminate use of pesticides.

To improve pollinator health, Walmart plans to invest in two initiatives: Integrated Pest Management, and ways to Improve and Expand Pollinator Habitats.

In terms of integrated pest management, Walmart U.S. is committing to source 100 per cent of the fresh produce and floral that is sold in their in-store produce department from suppliers that adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, which minimize the use of pesticides and encourage alternative forms of pest control.

Further, to improve and expand pollinator habitats, Walmart U.S. “will encourage fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3 per cent of land they own, operate and/or invest in and report annual progress.” It will also keep up with its commitment of not selling invasive plant species.

In addition, it has collaborated with solar developers to establish pollinator habitats around solar panel arrays.

Apart from all this, it has initiated use of special tags on plants that attract pollinators, aiding customers in growing their own pollinator gardens.

To read more about the efforts of Walmart, click here.

Aren’t these some fantastic initiatives by Walmart? What do you think? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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