Promoting Supply Chain Safety

Enhanced Global Standards

At Walmart helping people live better has always been core to our mission and the foundation of our business. In 2012 we announced several enhancements to our existing responsible sourcing program aimed at both raising our own standards and partnering with other stakeholders to improve the standards and opportunity for workers across the industry.

Globally, our enhanced policies include:

Zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting

In order to continue to improve transparency in our global supply chain, we instituted a zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting. Any facilities subcontracting sourcing of Walmart merchandise to an undisclosed or unauthorized facility are subject to being classified as red-failed in our system and may be permanently barred from sourcing merchandise to Walmart for all retail markets.

Company representatives

Suppliers are required to designate employees who are responsible for factory compliance with applicable laws and standards. The designated employees must have sufficient visibility into factory operations to ensure compliance at the facility level

A global approach to fire safety

As part of our effort to work with suppliers globally to improve facility conditions related to risk of fire, we've made several modifications to our protocol for auditing and assessing facilities. Facilities found to have fire safety-related violations will be required to take corrective action. Our requirements may be above and beyond legal requirements in the area where a facility is located.  See our enhanced fire safety standards for Bangladesh.

  • No locked doors. Doors should have push-bar operation for easy exit in case of emergency.
  • All doors to exit staircases and fire escapes must be kept closed at all times to prevent smoke from filling the stairwell and keeping workers from safely exiting the building.
  • Barred windows must have an internal mechanism for emergency release or removal to allow for worker escape and must remain unlocked.
  • All floors and buildings, including dormitories, must have a secondary exit.
  • A one-hour, fire-rated enclosed staircase or external fire escape route is recommended.
  • Fire escape routes must lead to safe assembly points without any obstructions. Assembly points must be designated and marked as such and must be kept clear at all times.
  • Proper access for fire department vehicles and other fire-fighting equipment in the factory premises.
  • Adequate water supply for sprinkler and fire hydrant systems.
  • Travel distance to an exit cannot exceed 61 meters (200 feet) in buildings without automatic fire sprinkler systems.
  • Audible, visible and operable smoke alarms placed appropriately throughout the building with at least the minimum number required by law.
  • Audible and operable fire alarms that can be heard in all parts of the building and operate as one system.
  • Marked and lighted exit routes for all floors and areas of the building, including stairwells. Emergency lights to be fire grade "industrial emergency lights" for use in smoke and fire environments.
  • Every building must be inspected on each work shift by trained personnel to ensure the above criteria are met.
  • Quarterly joint fire drills including all floors of the building to be overseen by an external party, such as the fire authority, for timely and effective personnel evacuation. Documentation of these drills must be retained by the facility for review during any visit to the facility.
  • Fire safety training conducted for all personnel every six months.
  • Personnel on-boarding process should include fire safety training upon hiring.
  • Trained firefighters for each floor of the facility.
  • Valid fire license where required by law.
  • Valid construction approval where required by law.
  • Hazardous/flammable chemicals and combustible materials must be kept away from ignition sources.
  • Crèche/childcare facilities must be on the ground floor of the building, preferably located in a separate nonindustrial facility.