Every company on the Fortune 100, including Walmart, has set forth a sustainability mandate that has been driven by stakeholders throughout their company. This means investors, customers and employees alike are looking for Walmart to reduce their carbon footprint over time.
As Walmart grows,and widens their stakeholder base, they also expand their carbon footprint. This creates a problem for Walmart’s sustainability team as they try to identify solutions to reducing their carbon footprint.
A sustainability team is made up of environmentally conscious employees who focus on helping their company conceptualize, create, and implement company-wide green initiatives. Today, one of the most important green initiatives for large manufacturers like Walmart is carbon footprint reduction.
This can create quite an overwhelming pressure for a sustainability team that has the job of reducing the carbon footprint of a company with an expanding stakeholder base.
So now the question is “How”? How can Walmart, with one of America’s largest carbon footprints, reduce its negative impact on the environment? How can Walmart supersede its sustainability mandate? How can Walmart lead the industry toward a more sustainable future? The HOW is going to determine Walmart’s ability to lead the sustainability revolution.
Today’s Sustainable Options for Walmart
Today, there are 3 main paths that companies could take to become more sustainable.
The only problem is, green energy and recycling can be adopted relatively easily, but there is no access to reliable supply chains of “green”, bio-based materials.
Because there is no access to sustainable materials, companies have been forced to overlook their plastic usage and focus on the traditional solutions: green energy initiatives and recycling programs that could help reduce their carbon footprint on their annual ESG reports.
Unfortunately, the impact of these programs will not create meaningful movement on the journey toward a sustainable future. Materials are such a key aspect to sustainability that without initiatives into new development, key stakeholders are beginning to think that Walmart is failing to reach their goals.
These large manufacturing companies have become increasingly frustrated over the years. As the pressure from stakeholders to “go green” has increased, the access to viable options has stayed the same.
Many executives, marketers, mechanical engineers, buyers, and sustainability experts at manufacturers have expressed their disappointment to us. Without a reliable supply chain of bio-based materials, they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They have the desire to make the transition over to sustainable materials, but there has previously been no solution to their problem.
The Solution is Sustainable Materials
The use of recycled materials has been one of the few strategic options for companies to implement that will put them on the path to sustainability. However, the over-dependence on recycled materials alone has caused the costs to increase and supply to dwindle. The secret sauce of top American manufacturers will be access to a reliable supply chain of high-performance carbon-negative materials. The question now is, how can Walmart access this reliable supply chain of carbon-negative materials?
Where to Find Carbon-Negative Materials
Most of the raw materials we use every day have very high carbon footprints. With population growth and increasing lifespans, our planet is consuming more materials. This makes it our responsibility to figure out how to reduce the carbon footprint of the raw materials we rely on every day.
There’s one carbon-negative material that has been proven to be successful over thousands of years: industrial hemp. The supply chains for these materials in the U.S. are beginning to develop and will soon exceed the capacity of industrial hemp across the world.
Hemp Fibers Over the Years
For over 10,000 years, there has been one material that has created certainty for civilizations across the globe. That material is hemp.
The history of the strength of hemp fibers has been well recorded for millennia. In recent history, Henry Ford built more than 40,000 cars that used hemp fibers in it during the 1930s. Toward the end of that decade, hemp was outlawed in America. This meant that no American manufacturer could procure a reliable supply chain of hemp fibers from anywhere.
But, in 2018, everything changed. When American politicians in Washington signed the Farm Bill in December of 2018, hemp became legalized. This opened the doors for farmers, processors, and manufacturers to benefit from the value that hemp could bring to the world.
For manufacturers like Walmart that are focused on sustainability, hemp is a huge opportunity. As a carbon-negative material, every one pound of hemp sequesters more than one pound of carbon dioxide. This means, if manufacturers like Walmart can figure out a way to use hemp, they can systematically reduce their carbon footprint.
How Walmart Can Use Hemp Fibers
Today, the easiest way to use hemp fibers is as additives in the raw materials that are already being procured by manufacturers. This allows companies to seamlessly “drop-in” sustainable materials without compromising performance or cost.
Hemp additives can increase the strength of end products while reducing their cost, weight, and carbon footprint. This is what Heartland’s team is laser-focused on.
Heartland is a biotech company that engineers hemp fibers as additives for polymers (plastics, rubbers, and foams). Their team is building America’s first reliable industrial hemp supply chain to provide additives for manufacturers that use large amounts of resin. As an industrial hemp material processor, they work with farmers and manufacturers to ensure the product consistency of bio-based additives that can be used across raw material supply chains. Heartland’s products help companies manufacture with stronger, lighter, cheaper, and more sustainable materials.
For manufacturers, this is a home run. They can keep procuring the same raw materials that they’ve been working with for decades (plastics, rubbers, and foams). But, by working with Heartland, their plastics, rubbers, and foams can have increased performance and reduced carbon footprints.
This is only possible because of how Heartland manufactures its hemp fibers. Heartland’s hemp fibers are processed in a way that allows them to see increased performance benefits while easily bonding with the polymer.
Heartland works with the raw material suppliers of some of America’s largest manufacturers. Frequently, these are plastic compounders (or resin suppliers) that are mixing additives with either virgin or recycled plastic. These plastic compounders work alongside Heartland’s team to make sure that they can easily mix hemp into the plastics that their customers are already procuring. This ensures that the plastic compounder can send out the hemp-filled plastic in the same way their customers are used to receiving traditional plastics (sheets, tubes, and pellets).
For plastic manufacturers, this means that there is no retooling required to work with plastic that has hemp additives in it. In the future, Heartland will be able to use its hemp fibers as additives to building materials, papers, and other raw materials that are used by manufacturers.
How Manufacturers Work with Heartland
Heartland is working with manufacturers across industry sectors. Automotive, marine, aerospace, packaging, healthcare, and government customers have all been able to work alongside Heartland to make sure that hemp additives easily mix with the polymers they are already procuring.
Our team has streamlined this process for manufacturers and plastic compounders. Today, in America, working with Heartland is the easiest way to get access to a reliable supply chain of high-performance bio-based materials.
We are undoubtedly witnessing the beginning of the sustainability revolution. Companies like Walmart that start the product development process today will be miles ahead of their competitors a year from now. This is why it’s important to start the conversation and reach out to us to see how hemp additives can make a difference in the products that Walmart is already manufacturing.
Join us in making a world out of hemp.
— Heartland Team
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