Potential of Carbon Footprint Reduction within Retailers: Food Waste at Walmart in Mexico

  • Jorge Carlos Carpio-AguilarEmail author
  • John Rincón-Moreno
  • María-Laura Franco-García
Part of the Greening of Industry Networks Studies book series (GINS, volume 7)


Food wastage is a major problem at all supply chains stages that faces severe implications such as the environmental cost associated to the release of greenhouse gases and loss of monetary value due to inefficient use of resources. According to FAO (Food wastage footprint: impacts on natural resources: summary report. FAO, Rome, 2013) the global carbon footprint (CF) of annual food wastage is about 3.3 Gt carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This fact is altering the sustainability of the food supply chain. Although retailers as part of the food supply chain do not generate as much food waste as other stages, the food management at the retailers’ stage is deeply encompassed. Their influence as the nexus amongst producers and consumers play a key role on the amount of food wasted throughout the supply chain. Therefore, the retail sector’s strategies to reduce food wastage seem to be essential in order to pursue a sustainable economy and to combat climate change. Moreover, it is also aligned to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 12 from the United Nations “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” that establishes an objective that “by 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains”. In this scenario, one of the best practices of Walmart Inc. is the Project Gigaton. The objective of this project is to avoid the generation of one billion CO2 tons throughout the Walmart’ supply chain. In order to demonstrate best practices and to lead its suppliers towards CO2 reduction initiatives, Walmart Mexico as one of the main markets of the company is implementing the “Zero Waste” (ZW) strategy on its operations. The ZW strategy at Walmart is aimed to manage efficiently any type of waste and also to consider the potential carbon footprint reduction due to a proper food waste management. Hence, this research sought to explore the potential of the carbon footprint reduction through different alternative food waste management routes aimed to lessen even further Walmart Mexico’s environmental footprint. Consequently, in this chapter, the carbon footprint emissions were calculated based on each final destination, which includes: food donations to food banks, animal feeding, bio-digestion and composting. The findings of this analysis showed that every final destination had a reduction of the carbon footprint from food waste avoidance, which would help to support the development and actions needed to amplify the benefits of the ZW strategy in a broader scope and to contribute to the SDG.


Sustainable development goals Zero food waste Retailer Greenhouse emissions reduction Carbon footprint Sustainable production and consumption 



Special acknowledgement goes to MSc Juan Carlos Camargo-Fernández (Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Deputy Director of Walmart Mexico and Central America) who generously provided very valuable feedback to enrich the content of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Carlos Carpio-Aguilar
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Rincón-Moreno
    • 2
  • María-Laura Franco-García
    • 3
  1. 1.Walmart Mexico and Central AmericaMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS), Department of Governance and Technology for Sustainability (CSTM)University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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