Taking ethical sourcing beyond compliance
As the world’s largest retailer, we strive to positively impact global supply chain practices by consistently raising our own standards and partnering with other retailers, brands, suppliers, NGOs and government leaders to find innovative and sustainable ways to improve working conditions. Through this collaboration we work to help build ladders to a better life in the countries we source from.
Over the past year, we have continued to make great strides in this area. We are in the second year of our innovative Supplier Development Program, in which our Ethical Sourcing team works closely with suppliers to improve working conditions in factories. Through this and other related programs, we have helped elevate 286 factories from an orange to a yellow rating.
Our efforts have been recognized by various respected independent organizations. In the Q4 2011 Covalence ethical reputation index, which tracks the ethical reputation of multinational corporations, Walmart ranked fifth out of 37 retailers. We also ranked second on resources devoted to supply chain compliance among apparel companies in Toward a Safe, Just Workplace: Apparel Supply Chain Compliance Programs, a scorecard published in 2010 that examines supply chain compliance for fair working conditions.
Despite this progress, there is still considerable opportunity ahead. For example, in September 2011, Walmart introduced the Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative. As part of this, we launched a program to provide basic life skills and leadership training to female factory workers.
We are also looking forward to continuing our Supplier Development Program with a goal to include more than 100 new participants this year.