Audit Process

Responsible Sourcing Audit Process

To help verify that the requirements in our Standards for Suppliers are met, we’ve invested in comprehensive social audits across our global supply chain. Our audits review a factory’s practices to verify that:

  • They meet or exceed our requirements
  • All labor is voluntary
  • Children aren’t used in the production of merchandise for Walmart
  • Workers are properly paid for all hours worked
  • Hours aren’t excessive and are consistent with local laws or regulations
  • Factories provide safe and healthy working conditions

Walmart’s responsible sourcing audits are conducted in facilities that produce direct import merchandise, Walmart-owned, proprietary or exclusive brands, Walmart branded merchandise and merchandise that is nonbranded. Walmart also reserves the right to inspect the facilities of any supplier outside this scope at any time.

All of our facility social audits are conducted by independent accredited and internationally recognized auditing firms. Facilities are then re-audited every six to 24 months, depending on the findings of the previous audits. To make our auditing program more effective, we focus our efforts on unannounced audits.

The social audit results are assigned a color rating by the Responsible Sourcing team, based on type and severity of issues found. Walmart uses these ratings to help make decisions about suppliers and factories – whether to develop them, make them a preferred supplier or to stop doing business with them.

  • Green: minor to no violations; the factory will be re-audited within two years.
  • Yellow: medium-risk violations; the factory will be re-audited within one year.
  • Orange: higher-risk violations; the factory will be re-audited within six months; if factories receive three orange ratings in a two-year period, the factory may be disapproved and prohibited from doing business with Walmart for at least one year, after which they must pass a reactivation audit and receive a green or yellow rating.
  • Red: most serious violations; may warrant no future business with Walmart.

In 2013, 20,322 assessments were conducted across 15,027 active factories. Of these, 1,016 were conducted through the ILO/Better Works Program or the International Council of Toy Industries CARE process. If a factory fails to meet our Standards for Suppliers, it must take corrective action to improve its performance or the factory may not be permitted to produce Walmart merchandise.

A risk-based approach to audits
In 2014, we’ll begin the process of moving to a risk-based system, whereby our auditing scope and content will evolve each year to more effectively address current industry challenges.