Walmart is changing the way it sources its beef. Here's why

Shoppers have admitted to having a conflicted relationship with Walmart because it offers competitive prices even though it isn't a favorite for customer satisfaction (via Kiplinger). But even those of us who love this grocery store aren't likely to pick Walmart because we think its products are sustainably sourced. Yet in 2016, Walmart outlined a roadmap that it said would flesh out details for a sustainability agenda, with action items that included doubling sales of produce locally grown in the U.S., looking to sustainably source 20 commodities including bananas, coffee, and tea by 2025. 

As part of that initiative, the supermarket now says it is ready to move in a direction where it will be able to source fresh beef products sustainably by that same deadline. In a blog announcing the beef initiative, Walmart says, "We aspire to source our fresh beef products more sustainably by 2025, including prioritizing soil health, animal welfare and responsible use of antibiotics. We will continue working with suppliers to improve grain sourcing and grazing management practices across a total of 12 million acres (or more than nine million football fields)... We expect our suppliers will not tolerate animal abuse of any kind and support our position on the judicious use of antibiotics in farm animals."

Walmart has promised transparency for its supply chain

The blog note, authored by David Baskin, Merchandising Vice President Meat, Walmart U.S., and Kyle Kinnard, Vice President and Divisional Merchandise Manager of Meat and Seafood, Sam's Club, also said there was a need for more transparency and partnership between the company and their suppliers with regard to "(identifying) opportunities and strategies to improve sustainability efforts throughout our supply chain, which can ultimately lead to improved soil health and decreased greenhouse gas emissions." The company also promised it would support farmers and ranchers to work on developing best practices so there might be a transformation across the beef supply chain.

Five years doesn't seem like a long time, and we hope Walmart is true to its word of finding a way to fix the beef supply chain so it works for the benefit of farmers and ranchers who have reported a record number of bankruptcies in the last few months (via WSJ), and for consumers who have had to pay more for beef — whose prices skyrocketed 20 percent between February and June (via CNN).