Wal-Mart Stores will spend $35 million over 10 years to conserve one acre of wildlife habitat for every acre it develops for stores.
That pledge is the cornerstone to Wal-Mart’s new partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The joint program, called “Acres for America,” is the first time a retailer has tied conservation to its store footprint, and will conserve at least 138,000 acres over 10 years.
That is the total acreage of store space Wal-Mart plans to have by 2015, including all its current stores.
Wal-Mart’s money will fund grants, administered by the foundation, which will work with local, state and national land-management groups on conservation projects. The first five grants support projects in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine and Oregon. The foundation will seek matching grants and other funding to expand the number of acres it can conserve.
“We introduced the concept of the offset program to Wal-Mart last year,” said Foundation chairman Max Chapman, Jr. in a statement. “They were quick to say yes, and Wal-Mart’s leadership is raising the bar in conservation.”