Education & Training in our Supply Chain

Seeking lasting solutions

At Walmart, our goal is to provide lasting solutions to the complex issues that are part of the global supply chain. That’s why we’re investing significant resources in proactive programs that empower workers and build the capacity of factories and suppliers.

Supply Chain Capacity Building

We're committed to working with our supplier partners and their factories to help them develop the capability to improve working conditions by investing in education, training and operational efficiencies. In 2012, we created our Supply Chain Capacity Building (SCCB) program, which brought together established training modules (Orange School Program, Supplier Development Program and Supplier Round Table) and newly developed modules (Factory Audit Orientation and Violation Correction Training) into a well-rounded collection of instructional curriculum.

The SCCB program components vary from half-day group training sessions to several months of one-on-one engagement with suppliers and factories. Topics range from Responsible Sourcing orientation to managing issues that are regionally specific to developing systems that encompass many facilities within a supplier's manufacturing base.

SCCB is an integral part of our overall strategy to effect continuous and sustainable improvement within the facilities that produce our merchandise.

Ethical sourcing education graphic

Women in Factories Training

In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation launched the Women in Factories Training Program. Through this five-year initiative, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation work with NGOs in India, Bangladesh, China and Central America to provide critical life and work skills training to at least 60,000 women in the supply chain. The curriculum, developed in partnership with CARE, an international NGO, provides women and men with the fundamental life and work skills necessary to be successful in the workplace, at home and in their communities. Of the 60,000 women receiving training, 8,000 high-potential women are offered advanced training, with a focus on management and leadership skills, as well as in-depth instruction on work and life skills. While our focus is on women, we extend training to both men and women working in the factories.


Factory Audit Orientation

Factory Audit Orientation is a training program that prepares new factories and associated suppliers for participation in the Responsible Sourcing program through training in the following areas:

  • Walmart's Standards for Suppliers
  • Social and environmental compliance
  • Enhanced fire safety requirement
  • Chemical and machine safety
  • Dormitory and canteen standards
  • Audit scope and factory disclosure
  • Factory audit process, results and consequences
  • Country- and region-specific trends, laws and best practices
  • Effective corrective action plan development
In 2013, 4,598 factories participated in Factory Audit Orientation


Violation Correction Training

Factories with higher risks observed during audits are requested to attend Violation Correction Training so we can provide them with a better understanding of our Responsible Sourcing program and requirements under Walmart’s Standards for Suppliers. Violation Correction Training addresses common trends related to social and environmental compliance, with special focus on locally relevant topics. Through training in root cause analysis, factories are able to develop corrective action plans to remedy potential violations. As part of our audit program, factories are assigned colors based on the severity of issues found.


Orange School Program

The Orange School Program provides one-on-one, hands-on training to select factories and suppliers. By focusing on the fundamentals of root cause analysis methodology and procedures, we teach factory management to proactively identify noncompliance issues and develop a systematic approach to continuous improvement. In 2013, 89 factories completed the Orange School Program, and 30 additional factories are currently undergoing training. 

Supplier Development Program

The Orange School Program provides one-on-one, hands-on training to select factories and suppliers. By focusing on the fundamentals of root cause analysis methodology and procedures, we teach factory management to proactively identify noncompliance issues and develop a systematic approach to continuous improvement. In 2013, 89 factories completed the Orange School Program, and 30 additional factories are currently undergoing training.


Supplier Round Table

The Supplier Round Table is a forum for our suppliers, factories and stakeholders from similar sourcing regions to come together and discuss concerns and share best practices. The sessions are focused on responsible sourcing goals, as well as objectives and current challenges across their region. In 2013, there were 41 global Supplier Round Table sessions, with 633 participating factories and 436 participating suppliers.

Empowering workers in Bangladesh

We know the most effective way to increase workplace safety is by empowering the workers. That’s why, in addition to our Women in Factories and Supply Chain Capacity programs, we’re investing in additional safety training in Bangladesh.

Through our work with Bureau Veritas, our goal is that each and every worker in factories producing merchandise directly for our suppliers in Bangladesh be trained on fire safety procedures.

We’ve also contributed $1.6 million to the Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC) to support the newly created Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Academy in Bangladesh. Through the EHS Academy, apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh will have access to high-quality, affordable and comprehensive training on fire safety and environment, health and workplace safety. In addition to funding, Walmart will also provide technical support and advice to ISC. The goal of the academy is to provide a local, long-term platform for addressing challenges in the supply chain related to fire safety through technical training and engagement.

Finally, through our participation in the Bangladesh Buyers Forum (BBF), Walmart has collaborated with 18 other brands to create a training program to increase fire safety awareness among our suppliers and their employees in garment factories. With an expected reach of more than 3,000 exporting garment factories in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) are providing training for factory management on the use of the films as educational tools.

LEAN

Our team at George, Walmart’s private-label clothing line, has worked with 17,000 workers in 34 factories in Bangladesh to implement the LEAN Manufacturing program. The LEAN program is designed to streamline production processes and invest in worker skills training. Starting in 2014, George plans to roll out the LEAN program in factories in China, India and Sri Lanka. Additionally, over the next five years, George will train a minimum of 10,000 workers in LEAN principles through the George Supplier Academy program. You can find more information on the LEAN program and the George Supplier Academy in George’s Doing the Right Thing report