A message from our Chief Executive Officer
Business as usual. There is no such thing at Walmart. Not a day goes by that we’re not asking ourselves how we can do more — do better. The health crisis that spread so quickly throughout our world this year has been no exception. Followed by the senseless and tragic murder of George Floyd, our nation has questioned where we go from here. Collectively, we’ve agreed: We have work to do.
While this report covers FY2020, because of this year’s unexpected headwinds, I’m just sitting down to write this letter in the middle of FY2021. The past year — and especially the past six months — pushed our company in ways we never could have imagined, and I’m fortunate to work with a capable and resilient team that is rising to the challenge. In every decision we’ve made, we’ve worked to prioritize the safety of our associates and customers. Reflecting back, one thing is clear: We’re not just a retailer. This team of ours — more than 2.2 million strong — is special. We’re a lot like a family. And when we hurt, we care for each other. We care for our customers. And we care for our communities.
There are a lot of stereotypes out there about Walmart. It’s no secret to us that we have critics who assume we’re doing business at the expense of people and the planet – that we’re all talk. The fact is, though, we’ve been working hard to use our scale to create positive change for a long time now. Issues like sustainability and opportunity don’t take a backseat. For us, our founder’s mission still guides the way. Sam set out to save people money so that they could live better lives. We learned that we simply can’t do that if our people and the planet aren’t nurtured for the long run. Short- termism has no place in our plan.
That’s why we’ve made serious investments over the years — some of which have raised an eyebrow or two. We started by investing in wages, benefits and training for U.S. hourly associates. We’ve added more benefits: A $1-a-day college program, advanced job training, paid time off, paid family leave and adoption coverage. These investments are empowering our associates to learn. To grow. To serve customers like never before. To prepare to lead this company into the next generation of retail.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the purpose of business in society. While there’s much left to debate, we know this for certain: It’s time for businesses to take the lead working together and with government and NGOs on serious issues like workforce opportunity, racial equity, climate, and sustainable, responsible supply chains. Consumers are keeping score. They no longer look the other way, and we are committed to do right by our communities. Together, we have an opportunity to shape the future at a pivotal moment. And the biggest outcome for thinking and behaving this way is that it results in a better performing business that benefits all of our stakeholders.
As we continue to manage a global health crisis and grieve the acts of racial injustice in our country, we’re pausing to think about where we go from here. Business as usual has changed for the world. So, how can we all use the lessons learned to shape a more sustainable and equitable future? And how can we do it with the speed with which we had to this year to confront the challenges? Our ability to create change at scale wouldn’t be possible without our customers, investors, associates, suppliers and communities — all putting their trust in us over the years. Thank you for challenging us. For questioning us. For pushing us to innovate and improve.
Our history is a mosaic of challenges, tests, explorations, failures and many great successes. While the world has felt quite turbulent recently, we have an opportunity to turn the tide of history — and take the best from this time. In the shadow of these tough months, we’re more motivated than ever to make meaningful environmental, social and economic progress — and we’re eager for others to join us. Our world depends on it.
President and Chief Executive Officer