By Greta Chiu
Walmart Canada has announced new commitments to pollinator health and new standards for their suppliers.
The big box retailer outlined three key steps: sourcing from suppliers with verified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, encouraging their suppliers to improve and expand pollinator habitats, and building pollinator gardens.
Verifying IPM practices
By 2025, the big box retailer will source all of their fresh produce and floral products from suppliers who have adopted IPM practices. According to the release, these practices will be verified by a third party. Fresh produce suppliers will also be encouraged to phase out the use of certain pesticides.
A document shared by Walmart Canada gives examples of third-party certifications, including
- Bee Better Certified
- Canada Certified Organic as well as international organic labels that meet the Canada Organic Regime equivalency arrangements
- Equitable Food Initiative (EFI)
- Fairtrade International – Hired Labor
- Fair Trade USA Year 6 and beyond, medium, and large farms
- Global G.A.P.Integrated Farm Assurance Fruit and Vegetable Versions 5.3-GFS and above. Flowers and Ornamental Version 5.2 and above.
- LEAF Marque
- Rainforest Alliance
- Sustainable Food Group Sustainability Standard
- Sustainably Grown (SCS Global Services)
- USDA Certified Organic that meet the terms of the US Canada Organic equivalency arrangement
“As part of this initiative, we’re encouraging fresh produce suppliers to phase out use of chlorpyrifos and nitroguanidine neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, dinotefuran) where applicable unless mandated otherwise by law, and to avoid replacing them with other products with a level I bee precaution rating.”
On improving and expanding pollinator habitats
Walmart Canada will encourage their fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore or establish pollinator habitats on at least 3 per cent of land they own, operate or invest in by 2025.
According to a Stephanie Fusco, manager of corporate affairs at Walmart Canada, “Greenhouse operations have a number of ways they can work towards the goal of protecting, restoring or establishing pollinator habitats on land they own, operate or invest in by 2025. For example, some may choose to establish pollinator habitats on surplus lands adjacent to the greenhouse or, if they have solar farms adjacent, add pollinator landscaping under the solar panels.”
“In situations where it isn’t possible to plant on their own lands, we would encourage them to invest in their communities or participate in projects in different areas across North America that support native plants,” adds Fusco.
Walmart Canada will also encourage their live-plant suppliers to label pollinator-friendly plants for sale in their retail stores. They will continue to avoid selling invasive plant species in-store based on regional information. This year, the retailer says they started tagging millions of annual and perennial neonic-free plants to help consumers identify pollinator-friendly choices.
Walmart Canada themselves will include pollinator-friendly plants in their flower beds where possible. They’ve also planned pollinator gardens for 10 Walmart locations by the end of 2021 – locations to be announced.
“Our first pollinator habitat has been installed at the Walmart Canada Store Support Centre (our Home Office) in Mississauga,” says Fusco. “Plants will be sourced from local suppliers, ensuring all plants are native to the province.”
The retailer says the new commitments to pollinators are a step in protecting the food supply and improving biodiversity. “Wild pollinators are currently declining in abundance and diversity in regions including North America.”
Walmart Canada operates 400 stores nationwide and serves 1.5 million customers on average each day.
In April, Walmart U.S. made a similar commitment, requiring “all global fresh produce and floral suppliers to Walmart U.S. to adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, as verified by a third-party certifier, by 2025,” and encouraged suppliers to “phase out the use of chlorpyrifos and neonicotinoids.”
Source: Walmart Canada