Responsible Sourcing

Sourcing Standards & Resources

Driving change through high standards and factory audits. Learn how we verify suppliers are adhering to these requirements.

Standards for Suppliers

Walmart's Standards for Suppliers

The safety and well being of workers across our supply chain is the Responsible Sourcing group’s top priority, which is why Walmart suppliers are contractually required to sign our Standards for Suppliers before they’re approved to produce merchandise for sale at Walmart. These Standards for Suppliers make clear our fundamental expectations for suppliers and factories regarding the treatment of workers and impact on the environment. Suppliers are also required to display our Standards for Suppliers in the local language in all factories where products are made for us, so workers know our expectations of suppliers and factory management.

As part of our commitment to worker safety and well being in the supply chain, Walmart updates the Standards for Suppliers regularly. In 2013, we made several important updates, including:

  • Combating unauthorized subcontracting: Unauthorized subcontracting continues to be an issue across the global supply chain. Because of this, we implemented policies in 2013 to address unauthorized subcontracting by Walmart suppliers. This includes any undisclosed subcontracting, with or without the supplier’s knowledge.


The Standards for Suppliers (“Standards”) are Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s fundamental expectations of its suppliers related to social and environmental conditions in all our markets. The Standards are utilized to evaluate employment practices and environmental compliance in facilities producing merchandise for sale by Walmart. Suppliers must also comply with Walmart’s Gift and Gratuity and Conflicts of Interest policies and conduct their business in an ethical manner that is consistent with accepted auditing principles.

The Standards must be visibly posted in English and in the local language(s) in a common area at all facilities that manufacture products for Walmart and its affiliates.

All Suppliers and their manufacturing facilities, including all subcontracting and packaging facilities, will be held to these standards. As a guide to help suppliers understand the expectations and obligations of the Standards for Suppliers, Walmart has prepared the Standards for Suppliers Manual (“Manual”).

1. Compliance with Laws
Suppliers and their designated manufacturing facilities must fully comply with all applicable national and/or local laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to labor, immigration, health and safety, and the environment.

2. Voluntary Labor
All labor must be voluntary. Slave, child, underage, forced, bonded, or indentured labor will not be tolerated. Suppliers shall not engage in or support trafficking in human beings.

Suppliers shall certify that they have implemented procedures to manage the materials, including all labor-related processes, incorporated into their products to ensure they comply with laws on slavery and human trafficking. Workers must be allowed to maintain control over their identity documents.

3. Labor Hours
Suppliers must provide workers with rest days and must ensure that working hours are consistent with the law and not excessive.

4. Hiring and Employment Practices
Suppliers must implement hiring practices that accurately verify workers’ age and legal right to work in the country prior to employment. All terms and conditions of employment including, but not limited to, hiring, pay, training, promotion, termination, and retirement must be based on an individual’s ability and willingness to do the job.

5. Compensation
Suppliers must compensate all workers with wages, overtime premiums, and benefits that meet or exceed legal standards or collective agreements, whichever are higher.

Suppliers are encouraged to provide wages that meet local industry standards. Suppliers are encouraged to provide wages and benefits that are sufficient to meet workers’ basic needs and provide some discretionary income for workers and their families.

6. Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Suppliers must respect the right of workers to choose whether to lawfully and peacefully form or join trade unions of their choosing and to bargain collectively.

7. Health and Safety
Suppliers must provide workers with a safe and healthy work environment. Suppliers must take proactive measures to prevent workplace hazards.

8. Dormitories and Canteen
Suppliers who provide residential and dining facilities for their workers must provide safe, healthy and sanitary facilities.

9. Environment
Suppliers should ensure that every manufacturing facility complies with environmental laws, including all laws related to waste disposal, air emissions, discharges, toxic substances and hazardous waste disposal. Suppliers must validate that all input materials and components were obtained from permissible harvests consistent with international treaties and protocols in addition to local laws and regulations.

10. Gifts and Entertainment
Suppliers must not offer gifts or entertainment to Walmart associates or those working on behalf of Walmart.

11. Conflicts of Interest
Suppliers must not enter into transactions with Walmart associates that create a conflict of interest.

12. Anti-Corruption
Suppliers must not tolerate, permit, or engage in bribery, corruption, or unethical practices whether in dealings with public officials or individuals in the private sector.

13. Financial Integrity
Suppliers must keep accurate records of all matters related to their business with Walmart in accordance with standard accounting practices such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Worker helpline

We believe worker voice is key to ensuring safety and well-being across the supply chain. That’s why we require factories producing merchandise for sale at Walmart to display, with our Standards for Suppliers, a toll-free phone number, email address and website where workers can anonymously report concerns in their local language. All reports are collected by a third party and directed to our Global Ethics Office for investigation.

Contact methods

• Online: (available in 14 languages)
• Email:
• Phone: +1 (800) WM-ETHIC (Country specific helpline numbers are available on

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.

California Transparency in Supply Chains Act

Corporate Disclosure in Compliance with SB 657 California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (Human Trafficking and Anti-Slavery)

Walmart strives to conduct business in a manner that respects its three core beliefs – respect for the individual, service to customers and striving for excellence. Holding the same expectations of our suppliers in contracting, subcontracting and other business relationships is one way we believe we can be a more responsible company and a better advocate for the men and women in our suppliers’ factories who manufacture the products we sell.

On January 1, 2012, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657) went into effect, requiring retailers and manufacturers above a certain size that are doing business in California to disclose measures used to track possible slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. The disclosure is aimed at providing information to consumers, allowing them to make better, more informed choices about the products they buy and the companies they support.

As part of our commitment to be a responsible company, the Responsible Sourcing program was established in 1992. A key part of that program is our Standards for Suppliers, which are Walmart’s fundamental expectations of its suppliers on social and environmental practices. The Standards cover topics including: compliance with laws, voluntary labor, labor hours, hiring and employment practices, compensation, freedom of association and collective bargaining, dormitories and canteens, and the environment. Walmart requires every supplier to sign an agreement that they, their contractors and subcontractors will abide by these Standards. Factory audits are used to verify suppliers’ compliance with the Standards in those facilities producing merchandise for Walmart 

While auditing had been the primary focus of Walmart’s Responsible Sourcing program, it was soon realized that responsible sourcing goes far beyond monitoring and should also confront the complexities that are at the root of noncompliance, and drive improvements in working conditions globally. To help address these concerns, Walmart is working to increase collaboration with other stakeholders and find ways to transform the sourcing process across the industry to identify and address barriers that may contribute to noncompliance.

Walmart’s Standards for Suppliers require suppliers to refrain from the direct or indirect use of forced labor or any forms of human trafficking and to verify/certify that their supply chains address these issues. Walmart further requires suppliers to certify implementation of procedures to manage the materials, including all labor-related process incorporated into their products, to ensure they comply with laws on slavery and human trafficking.

Dialogue and partnership can be an effective way to drive positive change and to address root cause issues that are persistent within the supply chain. Walmart continues to participate in collaborative efforts with external stakeholders that advance the goal of building a more transparent supply chain. Additionally, Walmart participates in industry working groups that serve as a vehicle to share experiences and gain new information that can help improve operations and the supply chain.

Walmart requires suppliers for all Walmart retail markets to disclose all facilities producing direct import, private label or nonbranded merchandise. Facilities are required to demonstrate adherence to Walmart’s Standards through social and environmental audits. As of April 2009, all of our standard audits are conducted by approved third-party audit firms. All factory audits, except for the initial audit, are unannounced and typically conducted every 6 to 24 months depending on previous audit findings.

Upon completion of all audits, the identified issues and recommendations to rectify violations observed are discussed and documented with the audited facility. Factory management is expected to address all identified issues as noted. The corrections of the identified issues are validated during the follow-up audit.

For more information regarding Walmart’s audit requirements please read our Standards for Suppliers

Through signing Walmart’s Supplier Agreement, suppliers agree to comply with the obligations stated in the Standards for Suppliers, which have been amended to require suppliers to certify that materials incorporated into their products comply with laws on slavery and human trafficking.

Internal Accountability
We require all Walmart associates to comply with our Statement of Ethics. Suppliers, contractors and service providers are expected to act ethically and are required to comply with Walmart’s Standards for Suppliers and our Responsible Sourcing Program Standards. As with all alleged violations of policy, we investigate issues and take the appropriate action up to and including termination of associates and termination of agreements for suppliers and contractors.

How Walmart manages its purchase orders has a significant impact on suppliers and factories. Responsible Sourcing is training Walmart supply chain decision-makers (merchandisers, buyers and sourcing managers) on how their decisions can potentially impact factory working conditions, and equipping them with the necessary knowledge to reinforce to suppliers the importance of positive factory labor practices. At Walmart, we believe that associate education is fundamental to fully integrating labor compliance and social responsibility into all purchasing decisions and to building a socially and environmentally responsible supply chain.