Wal-Mart Stores is eyeing savings of around US$1bn through a six-fold increase in its renewable energy projects as it works towards a target of only using such sources by 2020.

Speaking at Wal-Mart’s Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, CEO Mike Duke said the company would raise the amount of renewable energy it produces and procures each year to 7bn kWh by the end of 2020, up 600% on 2010 levels. The group will also reduce the energy used to power its buildings by 20% on 2010 levers.

“More than ever, we know that our goal to be supplied 100% by renewable energy is the right goal and that marrying up renewables with energy efficiency is especially powerful,” Duke said

He claimed the project would result in cost savings for the world’s largest retailer. “The math adds up pretty quickly – when we use less energy that’s less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings. These new commitments will make us a stronger business, and they’re great for our communities and the environment,” he insisted.

Once fully implemented, the company said the initiatives are expected to save $1bn annually.

“When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth,” Duke said. “Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks. Our leadership in this area is something our customers can feel good about because the result is a cleaner environment. And savings we can pass on to them.”