Walmart to spend an additional $350 billion on US-made products over next 10 years
American retail giant Walmart announced on Wednesday that it plans to support national manufacturers with $350 billion in added business over the course of the next decade. The company also launched “American Lighthouses”, a collaborative program that seeks to encourage U.S. production.
In a corporate blog post, Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner said that the company will be spending an additional $350 billion on items made, grown or assembled in the United States through 2030. According to the CEO, this move is expected to support more than 750,000 new American jobs.
In particular, the retailer has identified six priority categories on which it will focus its investments: plastics, textiles, small electrical appliances, food processing, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and goods not for resale.
The increased spend on nationally manufactured products expands on a commitment made by Walmart in 2013 to invest $250 billion on U.S.-made goods.
Other initiatives implemented by the company include its annual Open Call events, where any business with a shelf-ready product that supports American jobs can make a pitch to the retailer.
As well as supporting national manufacturing, Furner highlighted that the promised investment will lead to an estimated reduction of 100 million metric tons in CO2 emissions, due to the fact that products are being sourced closer to customers.
“U.S. manufacturing really matters. It matters to our suppliers, to entrepreneurs and to the environment. It matters to our customers - more than 85% of which have said it’s important for us to carry products made or assembled in the U.S.,” explained Furner.
Also announced on Wednesday, the company’s “American Lighthouses” program seeks to bring together key stakeholders, including both manufacturers and NGOs in the supplier community, as well as others from academia, government and local economic development groups, in order to identify and overcome top-down barriers to U.S. production.
According to a company spokesperson cited by CNBC, as of the most recent fiscal year, almost two-thirds of Walmart’s assortment is made, assembled or grown in the United States. However, the company has faced criticism over a perceived lack of commitment to national manufacturing in the past.
In 2015, for example, the retailer was forced to remove “Made in USA” logos from products on its website, after it was proved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that they were not, in fact, manufactured in the country.
Since then, Walmart has moved to specify the exact percentage of each product that is manufactured in the United States.
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