General Mills and Walmart have struck a new deal that will provide funds, education, and support for sustainable farming initiatives.
According to a statement, which confirmed the deal also includes Walmart’s warehouse club chain Sam’s Club, the collaboration will “accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture” across as many as 600,000 acres of land in the United States before the end of the decade.
Initial projects under the agreement will receive financial support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with wheat production among the main areas of focus.
According to the World Economic Forum, regenerative agriculture aims to tackle the issue of degraded agricultural land, which is harmed by machine use, pesticides, and fertilizers and is leading to a reduction in appropriate soil for food production.
Citing Regeneration International, the WEF said regenerative farming relies on plowing the land less to keep carbon dioxide in the soil and improve water absorbency.
Meanwhile, rotating crops can help improve biodiversity, and using manure and compost instead of chemical fertilizers helps provide nutrients to the soil.
The practice could provide multiple benefits, such as improving crop yields, reducing the need for excessive amounts of water, and stopping soil erosion.
It could also turn croplands and pastures into “carbon sinks.” The Farming Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis report from Project Drawdown, cited by the WEF, said adopting regenerative farming methods can help “absorb the equivalent of between 2.6 and 13.6 gigatons of CO2 a year.”
The agreement between General Mills and Walmart is looking to deliver such projects in seven states, with North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota primed for investment.
“We’re committing to making the everyday choice the more sustainable choice for consumers,” said executive vice president of food at Walmart U.S. John Laney said. “This collaboration is an example of how we are working across our value chain on intentional interventions to help advance regenerative agriculture and ensure surety of supply for these essential food products for the long term.”
General Mills intends to adopt regenerative agriculture on 1 million acres by 2030, while Walmart is seeking to “sustainably manage or restore” up to 50 million acres by the same year.
It’s not the only program to bring environmental benefits that Walmart is involved in. Walmart Canada has introduced its first electric semi trucks, for example, while electric delivery vans will bring groceries to customers while producing zero tailpipe pollution.
Another supermarket chain is upping its game when it comes to sustainability, too. Aldi has eliminated all plastic bags in U.S. stores, with the hope to prevent 15 billion bags from reaching oceans and landfills. It has also set a goal to have 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging by 2025.
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