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Climate advocates with the Ship It Zero campaign are calling on Walmart to end its reliance on fossil-fuelled ocean shipping.

The call comes ahead of the 9th annual World Ocean Summit Virtual Week taking place at the beginning of March, and where Walmart Senior Vice President for Sustainability, Jane Ewing, will be a keynote speaker.

‘As America’s largest retailer and biggest ocean shipping polluter, we call on Walmart to take a stand for the health of its customers, our oceans, our port neighbours, and our nation’s future. Walmart must step up as a leader in zero-emissions ocean shipping and adopt ground-breaking technology of the 21st century, or otherwise, be left behind,’ said Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead, Pacific Environment.

‘Americans want clean and healthy port neighbourhoods and oceans. With at least 14% of the world’s iconic coral reefs having vanished since 2009 according to the United Nations, the time to abandon the dirtiest fuels on the planet and adopt a 100% zero-emissions supply chain has arrived.’

In September 2020, Walmart announced it was targeting zero emissions in its global operations by 2040. While Ship It Zero says it ‘appreciates’ the initial commitment, it maintains the company must act ‘much faster’ in order to avoid the ‘worst impacts’ of climate change.

‘Walmart cannot be a leader on ocean protection while ignoring its massive shipping pollution problem,’ said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director at Stand.earth. ‘Importing goods on cargo ships fuelled with some of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth harms our oceans, climate, and communities, and Walmart must take action now to eliminate the pollution its shipping emits every year.’

Accordingly, Ship It Zero is asking big retailers – specifically Walmart, Target, IKEA and Amazon – to make a commitment to decarbonise their ocean shipping by 2030. This earlier goal, NGOs argue, will ensure the shipping industry does its fair share to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target scientists say is needed to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

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