Our Responsible Sourcing Journey
The Responsible Sourcing program began in 1992 to establish our expectations for suppliers and to monitor facilities in potentially high-risk geographies. Since then, we have expanded our efforts to provide mechanisms for workers to report concerns, began risk-based auditing and audit assessments to monitor supply chain health, engaged with stakeholders around the world, and engaged in key supply chains to solve for root cause issues.
At the Net Impact Conference in 2016, our president and CEO Doug McMillon shared our goal to use our ability to bring together stakeholders – including industries, civil society, governments and international organizations – to address major potential risks to the dignity of workers in a minimum of 10 retail supply chains by 2025. This commitment goes above our existing work to hold suppliers accountable to our high standards. As of January 31, 2019, we have focused on five supply chain initiatives:
- Apparel in Bangladesh
- Produce in the U.S. and Mexico
- Shrimp in Thailand
- Tuna processed in Thailand
- Electronics sourced for the U.S. retail market
Our Responsible Sourcing team has more than 150 associates, many of whom are embedded in markets and hubs around the world to better support our global supply chain.
We believe that partnership is the new leadership. We collaborate with and seek input from external stakeholders, including our suppliers, other companies, governments and nonprofit organizations, as well as internal business stakeholders, including buying and sourcing teams. This work helps us better understand potential risks, identify root cause solutions, and further mature our program, policies and initiatives.
Making Human Rights a Company Priority
The Walmart Board of Directors Nomination and Governance Committee oversees Walmart’s human rights work, and the Audit Committee of the Walmart Board of Directors oversees the company’s Ethics & Compliance program, including Responsible Sourcing. Support from the Board and senior leadership helps us cascade our values through the entire organization.
In addition, Walmart has an internal Human Rights Steering Committee, whose members include leaders across our business. In November 2018, we published a Human Rights Statement, which describes our respect for human rights and articulates how our values inform our approach to human rights throughout our corporate activities, with a focus on our associates, customers, supply chain and the communities in which we operate. The Statement was approved by both Walmart’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
Walmart believes in being transparent about how our Responsible Sourcing program operates, where we are focusing our efforts, how we determine areas of risk, and the steps we are taking to collaborate for sustainable change. Due to proprietary information and confidentiality restrictions, we are unable to disclose supplier or facility lists to the public. However, we remain committed to providing transparency about our efforts to promote human rights in the supply chain.
We also provide information to multiple public benchmarking organizations. In 2018, our scores improved in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, and Walmart ranked sixth of 38 companies in Know the Chain’s 2018 Food and Beverage Benchmark. Walmart also received the highest ranking on women’s issues in Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes report. While we are encouraged by these reports, we recognize there is more work to be done and are committed to continued improvement.
Our company and the world around us are evolving at a rapid pace, and new risks emerge every day. We are working on several new projects to further enhance our Responsible Sourcing program, including a new focus on promoting the dignity of women, the development of an external stakeholder advisory board, and the launch of a new ethical recruitment project with the International Organization for Migration. We will continue to update on progress as available.