NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores plans to double its sales of locally sourced produce in the United States by the end of 2015.
The move by the world's biggest retailer is part of a new sustainable agriculture strategy that looks to steer more business to small and medium-size farmers globally while reducing farming's environmental impact.
Wal-Mart plans to buy more of select U.S. crops. It also plans to train 1 million farmers and farm workers in emerging markets in crop selection, sustainable farming practices and other subjects, and to sell $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small and medium-size farmers.
Wal-Mart said last week it will start asking suppliers about water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide used per unit of food produced. The retailer also wants to lower food waste at its stores, with plans for a 15 percent reduction at emerging-market stores and clubs and a 10 percent reduction at stores and clubs in other markets by 2015's end.
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"Our efforts will help increase farmer incomes, lead to more efficient use of pesticides, fertilizer and water, and provide fresher produce for our customers," president and CEO Mike Duke said in a statement.
The retailer's other goals include expanding the practice started at Wal-Mart Brazil of sourcing only beef that doesn't contribute to the Amazon rainforest's deforestation.
It also wants to require sustainably sourced palm oil for all of its store brand products worldwide by the end of 2015.
Wal-Mart said it talked to various suppliers, universities and non-government organizations to come up with its goals.
Wal-Mart Stores, based in Bentonville, Ark., runs more than 8,400 locations in 15 countries.