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Walmart Commits to Bee Better Certified and Other Measures for Pollinators

By Eric Lee-Mäder and Scott Black on 17 April 2021
Eric Lee-Mäder and Scott Black

We’re pleased to share this week’s announcement that the world’s largest retailer—Walmart—has publicly committed to a sweeping range of pollinator conserving actions: Restoring Pollinator Habitats is Key to Feeding the Future

Walmart has committed to help address the pollinator crisis by asking its fresh produce suppliers around the world who supply its U.S. stores to phase out use of highly toxic and long-lived insecticides. They are also asking all fresh produce suppliers to move toward more sustainable practices.  Specifically, Walmart called on all their fruit and vegetable suppliers to:

  • Restore 3% of their production land to pollinator habitat.
  • Begin phasing out nitroguanidine neonicotinoids and chlorpyrifos insecticides, two types of insecticides linked to global pollinator declines.

To help accelerate these actions, by 2025, all fresh produce suppliers to Walmart must be certified in one of ten different third party-verified sustainable farming standards, a list that includes Bee Better Certified, USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and several others.

 

A patch of pollinator habitat on a farm in Iowa is a mass of yellow, white, and purple flowers
Bee Better Certified offers third party-verified sustainable farming standards that rewards growers for committing to supporting pollinators. Growers must provide habitat on 5% of the certified acreage and change pesticide applications to protect pollinators. (Photo: Xerces Society / Cameron Newell.)

 

Walmart has also committed to:

  • Keep invasive plant species out of their garden department, and
  • Advance labeling of nursery plants grown without systemic insecticides.

The company is re-imagining their forthcoming new home office as a native plant-filled campus within a pollinator-friendly green infrastructure. This is backed by ongoing commitments to restore pollinator habitat around many of their stores and distribution centers.

These actions represent a major milestone with the potential to impact millions of acres of fruit and vegetable production worldwide. All in all, a promising announcement that we hope is wildly successful, pun intended.

 

Further Reading

Learn more about Bee Better Certified

 

Authors

As Pollinator Program Co-Director, Eric manages staff focused on large-scale habitat restoration, conservation biocontrol, native seed research and development, and outreach to farmers, private businesses, and government agencies. His professional background includes commercial beekeeping, native seed production, and consulting for various specialty crop industries.

Scott Black is an internationally renowned conservationist who has been at the forefront of the conservation movement for three decades. Scott’s work has led to protection and restoration of habitat on millions of acres of rangelands, forests, and farmland as well as protection for many endangered species. He is an author of the best-selling Attracting Native Pollinators and Gardening for Butterflies and has written more than two hundred other publications including a recent chapter on climate change and insects.

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