SASB: CG-AA-430b.1; CG-AA-430b.3; CG-AA-440a.1; FB-FR-430a.3
GRI: 102-9; 204-1; 409-1; 412-2; 414-1
UN SDGs: 2, 5, 8
S G | Published: July 21, 2022

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Our Aspiration

We aim to source responsibly while acting as a catalyst of positive transformation for the well-being of people working in consumer product supply chains, working with others to realize the economic promise of supply chains and helping address specific systemic risks.

Key Goals & Metrics

Metrics

FY2020

FY2021

FY2022

Responsible Sourcing Metrics
Supplier-disclosed facilities in “active” status1>26,000>27,800>27,200
Number of third-party responsible sourcing facility audit reports assessed~14,500~14,000~14,000
Facility color ratings for assessed audit reports as a percentage of all assessed audits for the fiscal year2Green24.0%23.5%23.7%
Yellow65.3%68.8%68.8%
Orange10.3%7.3%7.2%
Red0.4%0.4%0.3%
Number of facilities in small supplier compliance program355274335
Number of countries where assessed third-party responsible sourcing facility audits were conducted
8491
Number of cases opened related to allegations of supply chain misconduct730843714
Progress Toward Social Sustainability Commitments
Goal Metric FY2020 FY2021 FY2022
Source 100% Walmart U.S. fresh produce and floral from suppliers who have endorsed the Ethical Charter by the end of 2022% net sales from suppliers endorsing the Ethical Charter3
69%
% Walmart U.S. information, communication and technology net sales from suppliers implementing the RBA Code of Conduct487%
Between 2018-2022, Walmart Foundation to invest $25 million to strengthen smallholders in farmer producer organizations and farm yields in IndiaCumulative investment since 2018>$13 million>$20 million>$29 million
Amount sourced from diverse suppliers5 to our U.S. businesses—goods and services> $11.7 billion> $13 billion> $13.3 billion
Number of diverse suppliers6 to our U.S. businesses—goods and services~ 2,900~ 2,900~ 2,600

Relevance to Our Business & Society

Retail supply chains bring food and other essential products to consumers around the world. Growing, making and transporting products also benefits local economies and provides economic opportunity for billions of people who work in product supply chains, including lifting many out of poverty. In some cases, however, people working in product supply chains may face the risk of exploitation, especially in regions with less robust legal and social infrastructure.

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Walmart’s business depends on our ability to source responsibly made products; our core values of respect for the individual and for human rights demand it. Walmart’s supply chain consists of more than 100,000 suppliers globally, many of whom have their own suppliers. Our stakeholders expect us not only to source responsibly but to be a catalyst for positive transformation.

Walmart’s Approach

To promote the well-being of people in the supply chains from which we source, Walmart aims to source our products responsibly, create economic opportunity for people and collaborate with others to address systemic risks to worker well-being.

  • Responsible Sourcing: We hold our suppliers accountable for the responsible operation of their facilities and for safeguarding the well-being of workers in their facilities and supply chains. Walmart expects that the products we purchase and sell or purchase for our own use are made by suppliers who act ethically, pay people fairly, provide working environments that are clean and safe, and respect the dignity of workers. We articulate our expectations in our Standards for Suppliers, which apply to all suppliers who sell their products to us for resale or for Walmart’s own use. We employ a risk-based approach to monitor for compliance with our Standards, focusing on areas that pose the greatest potential risk to worker dignity. Our merchants and sourcing teams manage risk by engaging their suppliers to make our expectations clear, providing resources and information to clarify expected practices and hold them accountable for compliance where necessary.
  • Creating Economic Opportunity for People in Supply Chains: Growing, making and transporting products benefits local economies and provides economic opportunity for billions of people who work in product supply chains, including lifting many out of poverty. Walmart annually sources billions of dollars of products from diverse suppliers and uses business and philanthropic resources to help smaller producers access markets and grow.
  • Collaborating to Address Systemic Risks to Worker Well-Being: Systemic issues such as forced labor, unsafe working conditions and gender inequity require collective efforts to bring about significant, positive and lasting transformation for the well-being of workers. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation collaborate with suppliers, non-governmental organizations, experts and others to address root causes of these issues, foster innovative solutions and accelerate adoption at scale.

Key Strategies & Progress

Responsible Sourcing | Creating Economic Opportunity | Collaborating to Address Systemic Risks

Responsible sourcing

Our Responsible Sourcing program sets expectations of product suppliers aligned with our Human Rights Statement, monitors supplier performance against those expectations and works through our business to continuously improve our product supply chains.

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Program Foundations

Walmart’s expectations of suppliers are set out in our Standards for Suppliers, which apply to all suppliers that sell their products to us for resale or for Walmart’s own use. Suppliers are expected to cascade the requirements outlined in our Standards for Suppliers throughout their supply chains – including raw material, component or ingredient suppliers, and subcontractors and agents. These foundational expectations address fundamental issues such as worker safety, forced labor and harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Walmart merchandising and sourcing teams choose which products to buy and which suppliers to work with and are key to achieving Walmart’s responsible sourcing objectives. Their actions are guided by Walmart’s Human Rights Statement, Standards for Suppliers, Code of Conduct, Global Responsible Sourcing Compliance Policy, and Global Forced Labor Prevention Policy, among other resources.

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Code of Conduct, Global Responsible Sourcing Compliance Policy and Global Forced Labor Prevention Policy

Walmart’s Code of Conduct, which applies to all Walmart associates globally, reiterates our respect for human rights, prohibits the use of underage or forced labor anywhere we do business, sets the expectation that all Walmart associates know and uphold our Standards for Suppliers, and obligates associates to comply with all other relevant policies, including our Global Responsible Sourcing Policy and Global Forced Labor Prevention Policy.

Walmart’s Global Responsible Sourcing Compliance Policy establishes requirements for our merchandising and sourcing associates to buy and source from responsible supply chains, including by:

  • Knowing and understanding our Standards for Suppliers and other relevant policies and program requirements
  • Not knowingly buying or sourcing from suppliers that are producing products for Walmart using forced, underage, or involuntary prison labor; suppliers with facilities with known safety issues that may result in significant loss of life; or suppliers or facilities that are not authorized to produce for Walmart because of past compliance violations
  • Communicating expectations and holding suppliers accountable to the Walmart Standards for Suppliers and Responsible Sourcing Compliance Program requirements
  • Considering how certain buying practices might create pressures on suppliers and facilities that may increase risk
  • Escalating concerns through our Ethics channels

Additionally, Walmart’s Global Forced Labor Prevention policy sets requirements for all Walmart associates regarding the prevention of forced labor and conveys the expectation that our suppliers uphold the principles in the policy. The policy makes clear Walmart’s endorsement of forced labor prevention principles, that workers should not have to pay to get a job, that workers should understand the terms and conditions of their employment, and that workers should have freedom of movement. It reiterates the expectation that merchandising and sourcing associates not knowingly buy or source from suppliers producing products using forced labor, including underage labor or involuntary prison labor, in their operations or their supply chain, and communicate expectations and hold suppliers accountable to the Walmart Standards for Suppliers and our Forced Labor Prevention requirements.
Failure to comply with these policies may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

To support our merchandising and sourcing teams and to build strong connections with local suppliers, Walmart has associates around the world dedicated to administering our Responsible Sourcing program. As of January 31, 2022, Walmart Compliance associates located in 14 countries support the Responsible Sourcing program. Walmart’s Responsible Sourcing Compliance associates provide ongoing support and guidance to merchandising and sourcing teams so they can align purchasing practices with program expectations. This includes helping these teams understand and mitigate risk and training them on responsible sourcing expectations, processes, trends and tools; working directly with suppliers to help create an understanding of our expectations; and collaborating with stakeholders on key industry and regional responsible sourcing issues.

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Training & Tools

Walmart merchandising and sourcing associates are trained on our Global Responsible Sourcing Compliance Policy, our Standards for Suppliers and our responsible sourcing expectations on an ongoing basis. This training introduces new merchants to the Responsible Sourcing program while updating program understanding with experience merchants.

In addition to training Walmart associates, we provide tools and resources to suppliers through various channels, including our corporate website to help them understand our expectations and to help them make improvements in their supply chains. Additionally, when suppliers with facilities within the scope of our Responsible Sourcing auditing program disclose those facilities to us, Walmart sends those suppliers email communications reiterating our Standards for Suppliers and providing references to resources to help them understand and meet Responsible Sourcing requirements. Finally, Walmart associates also provide individual guidance, including when suppliers or merchants reach out with questions and when audit results are shared with suppliers.

Monitoring for Compliance

We take a risk-based approach to monitoring suppliers’ facilities for compliance with our Standards for Suppliers. This approach includes audits conducted by third parties and handling of allegations through our case management process that may include investigations of facilities.

Facility Disclosure. We require suppliers to disclose to Walmart any facilities they are using to produce private and exclusive brand merchandise, goods imported by Walmart and items for our own use that carry the Walmart brand (such as shopping bags). In some markets, and based on risk, we require additional facilities to be disclosed.

Auditing. As set forth in our Audit and Assessment Policy & Guidance document, whether and when an audit is required for a disclosed facility is dependent on several risk-based factors:

  • Region/Territory Risk. Regions and territories are assigned risk levels based on World Bank governance indicators. Facilities in lower-risk regions and territories are typically subject to audits on a less frequent basis while facilities in regions and territories that fall into medium and higher levels of risk are typically subject to regular audits, regardless of the outcome of earlier audits of the same facilities.
  • Channel. New facilities that produce product where Walmart will be the importer of record must be audited and receive an acceptable result prior to beginning production for Walmart.
  • Prior Audit Results. Audit results determine re-audit requirements.

We rely on third-party auditing programs to monitor suppliers' social compliance at these facilities. As of April 2022, Walmart recognized 11 approved third-party audit programs. Walmart assessed approximately 14,000 third-party audit reports in FY2022.

Strengthening Capacity of Global Audit Systems

Walmart seeks to strengthen the capacity of the global social compliance audit system.

For example, we supported the establishment of the Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA) to enhance the professionalism, consistency and credibility of the individuals and organizations performing social compliance audits. Walmart continues to support APSCA by requiring that audits be conducted by an APSCA-certified auditor. As of January 2022, more than 4,600 auditors had enrolled with APSCA.

Walmart also works to improve individual audit programs. To become approved by Responsible Sourcing, an audit program undergoes an extensive review that covers the program’s audit content, methodology, program governance and quality assurance processes, among other components. After the review, we provide feedback to the programs on elements for improvement. We may require elements to be addressed before the program can become an approved option for suppliers. We continually engage with the programs to help mature them, as necessary.

Suppliers are responsible for providing an audit report for facilities that fall within the audit scope and for correcting non-compliances identified. Walmart associates support suppliers through the audit process, communicating with suppliers about our requirements and checking the validity of submitted audit reports. Associates also review each audit submitted and assign a rating to describe its compliance and risk level. Central audit administration teams partner with the compliance teams in each country in which we operate to support merchants in understanding their suppliers’ performance and any issues that warrant supplier engagement, as well as communicating with suppliers about audit results and expected next steps.

Facility & Supplier Compliance Assessments

We assign risk ratings to all audited facilities and higher-risk suppliers. These risk ratings may result from the auditing or case management processes described in this brief.

Audited Facilities are assigned color ratings based on their compliance and risk levels

  • Green: Highest level of compliance
  • Yellow: Minimal issues to be addressed
  • Orange: More significant issues that must be remediated
  • Red: Serious issues that ordinarily lead to the facility no longer being authorized to produce products for Walmart 

Suppliers may also be given consequences for substantiated non-compliances. Suppliers may be assigned a “strike” where they are directly responsible for non-compliant activities (i.e., action on their part as opposed to on the part of one of their facilities) and for certain serious violations by their facilities. Ordinarily three “strikes” within a two-year period will lead to the termination of a relationship with Walmart. Walmart may also choose to sever its relationship with a supplier based on a single instance or event, as circumstances warrant.

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Worker Voice and Responding to Allegations of Non-Compliance

Walmart has several mechanisms for workers (and anyone with relevant information) to raise concerns directly to Walmart. For example, we provide a 24/7 global helpline that is available in 29 languages. This is in addition to the globally accessible email (ethics@walmart.com) and website (walmartethics.com). We also provide posters to suppliers to place in their facilities in the local language detailing how workers can use these mechanisms.

If we receive information alleging serious violations of our Standards by a supplier or its facilities, we open a case. Our case management and escalation criteria are informed by the International Labour Organization Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. In some cases, we engage suppliers directly to discuss the allegations, clarify expectations and follow-up on remediation. In more serious cases, we deploy a team of Walmart investigators to gather facts about the allegations through on-site visits to facilities or through other means. For example, serious allegations that may warrant in-depth scrutiny could include indicators of forced labor, such as restriction of movement and payment of recruitment fees. In FY2022, we managed over 700 cases related to more serious allegations of non-compliances with our Standards for Suppliers.

FY2022 Responsible Sourcing Allegations Received, By Allegation Category 

Safety Conditions95
Voluntary Labor171
Unauthorized Production143
Employment Practices88
Integrity74
Working Conditions66
Other79
Total Cases716

Managing Non-Compliance & Risk

As noted above, we require audits of disclosed suppliers' facilities. Of that subset of suppliers' facilities subject to audits, most are found to be compliant with our foundational expectations, receiving a rating of green or yellow. By policy, suppliers are required to remediate any identified non-compliances with our Standards for Suppliers. Our re-auditing requirements allow us to monitor whether identified issues remain or are corrected

Audits and cases do surface more serious issues; for example, approximately 7% of audits in FY2022 resulted in a facility receiving an Orange rating. Our approach is to engage the supplier to communicate the results and expectations for remediation, giving them limited additional chances to bring the facility up to a Green or Yellow rating. In FY2022, nearly 28% of orange-rated facilities were remediated to either yellow or green assessments.

Where those serious issues are not remediated over time or extremely serious issues are identified through audits or cases, it can result in consequences up to and including termination of a supplier’s relationship with Walmart and/or a supplier’s ability to use a particular facility for Walmart production. When higher-risk findings that could lead to a red rating (for a facility) or a strike (for a supplier) are identified, the compliance teams work with the relevant merchant teams to communicate the results, any business consequences and/or remediation expectations to the supplier. In FY2022, 27 facilities received a red rating. Since 2012, Walmart has stopped doing business with 39 suppliers in response to serious violations of our Standards.

Creating Economic Opportunity for People in Supply Chains

Walmart sources billions of dollars from diverse suppliers and uses business and philanthropic resources to help smaller producers access markets and grow.

Supporting India Manufacturing & Entrepreneurs

In India, Walmart is focusing on building supplier capabilities through Flipkart’s Samarth initiative and Walmart’s Vriddhi Supplier Development Program (Walmart Vriddhi) launched in 2019, which aims to train and prepare 50,000 of India’s micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to “Make in India” for global supply chains by 2025. In December 2020, Walmart announced it will seek to triple its exports of goods from India to $10 billion per year by 2027. Walmart has sourced goods from India for more than 20 years, supporting local suppliers to build their capabilities and develop new product lines to meet international standards. We expect this commitment to provide a significant boost to suppliers in India.

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Market Access for Small Producers

Retail markets with small producer sourcing programs include Mexico, Central America, South Africa and India. These businesses also have specialized supplier development programs focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including examples such as Adopta Una PyME (“Adopt an SME”), Una Mana Para Crecer (“A Helping Hand to Grow”), Tierra Fértil (“Fertile Soil”), Pequeño Productor ("Small Farmer")7, and our South Africa Supplier Development Program (which as of December 31, 2021 has procured over R1.5 billion from suppliers since inception.8

The Walmart Foundation has awarded grants of more than $67 million to benefit smallholders in Central America, India and Mexico since 2017. These grants are expected to reach over 730,000 smallholder farmers (of whom over 320,000 or 44% are women) through programs aimed at enhancing farmer livelihoods and value chains, encouraging the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices, unlocking access to finance, growing formal market linkages, strengthening Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and empowering women farmers in FPOs.

As part of this total reach to smallholders, the Walmart Foundation's smallholder investments in India, to date, include over $29 million, making good on a 2018 commitment to invest $25 million over 5 years to improve farmer livelihoods in that country. The collective impact of these investments include:

  • Grants to 17 grant programs (13 grantees)
  • Grants spanning the Indian States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal
  • Support for over 590,000 smallholder farmers (of whom over 280,000 or 48% are women)
  • Support to over 400 FPOs
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Diverse Sourcing

Walmart uses its sourcing strategies to foster equity and inclusion of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups while enhancing our product offering. Walmart’s supplier inclusion program provides companies owned and operated by racial and ethnic minorities, women, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities opportunities to grow their business by supplying products or services to Walmart. A diverse supply chain helps us deliver the products and services our customers want and need at affordable prices.

We sourced more than $13.3 billion in goods and services from approximately 2,600 diverse suppliers in FY2022. Our Supplier Inclusion Team is dedicated to supplier inclusion and works to identify and onboard interested suppliers and regularly attends business conferences, product and procurement fairs, expos and similar events to help identify potential new diverse suppliers. In addition, our Supplier Inclusion Portal provides current and potential suppliers with information on our supplier inclusion program and requirements.

Made in USA

Walmart has a long history of supporting American-made products. According to data from our suppliers, in FY2022 nearly two-thirds of Walmart U.S.’s total product spend was on items made, grown or assembled in the United States.

Through our America at Work initiative, we continue to invest in products that support the creation of American jobs. As of the end of FY2022, we have purchased $196 billion towards our FY2013 commitment to purchase an incremental $250 billion (i.e., over and above the amount purchased in FY2013) over 10 years. In 2021, we made a new commitment to purchase an incremental $350 billion in products made, grown or assembled in the United States from FY2022 through the end of FY2032 (i.e., $350 billion over and above the amount purchased in FY2021). As of the end of FY2022, we have increased U.S. purchases by $12 billion towards this new goal. Walmart estimates that this additional investment of $350 billion over ten years has the potential to support more than 750,000 new jobs,9 and avoid more than 100 million metric tons of emissions.10

Read More: Supplier Opportunity.

Collaborating to Address Systemic Risks to Worker Well-Being

Systemic risks such as forced labor, unsafe working conditions and gender inequity require collective action to bring about significant, positive and lasting protection of worker well-being. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation collaborate with suppliers, non-governmental organizations, experts and others to address root causes of these issues, foster innovative solutions and accelerate adoption at scale. We have committed to working with others to address risks to the dignity of workers in a minimum of 10 retail supply chains by 2025. We have focused on the following supply chains to date:

  • Apparel in Bangladesh
  • Produce in the U.S. and Mexico
  • Shrimp in Thailand
  • Tuna in Thailand
  • Electronics sourced for the U.S. retail market
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Within these supply chains, we are focused on addressing issues of forced labor and responsible recruitment, worker safety and gender equity. Read more: Human Rights.

Forced Labor & Responsible Recruitment

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have prioritized working with stakeholders to combat forced labor and other exploitative practices in global supply chains. Debt bondage, one of the most common forms of forced labor, is often caused by employers and recruiters charging vulnerable workers exorbitant recruitment fees, which leaves workers indebted and unable to leave their jobs. While forced labor is a global problem, forced labor risks are most acute in certain geographies and supply chains, including products from Southeast Asia and agriculture in North America.

In 2016, Walmart and Walmart Foundation set an aspiration to help make responsible recruitment the standard business practice for employers throughout global supply chains within a decade (by 2026). Since then, our business and philanthropic efforts have focused on the following (which include over $45 million in grants promoting responsible recruitment of workers and fair and responsible labor practices in global supply chains):

Conducting due diligence, including funding research into the prevalence of social concerns in industry supply chains and/or regions and tracking progress toward improvement.

  • International Justice Mission. In 2016, the Walmart Foundation funded the first comprehensive study documenting the prevalence of forced labor and exploitation of fishermen on Thai fishing vessels.
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 2017, a Walmart Foundation grant supported surveys of 2,800 workers and found that women and indigenous migrants faced specific risks. In 2019, the Walmart Foundation contributed a second grant that supported surveys of workers employed on farms that export tomatoes and vegetables to the U.S. The survey identified a "shadow" labor market where farms producing for both the domestic and export market were often hiring indigenous workers who received lower wages and were not covered by state work-related benefits. In FY2021, the Walmart Foundation made its third grant to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to fill knowledge gaps, strengthen enforcement efforts and assess the implications of an increasingly Mexican-born workforce in North American agriculture.
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 2019, Walmart engaged this United Nations agency to better understand the scope and scale of migrant labor in Walmart’s supply chains in Thailand and Malaysia. To help build the leadership capacity of suppliers’ facilities and their recruiters on ethical recruitment and migrant worker protection, the project delivered training to increase awareness of responsible recruitment practices and effective actions to improve the recruitment process of migrant workers and decrease the risk of workers’ exploitation. IOM trained 100 facilities in Thailand and Malaysia on managing the risks of migrant worker exploitation and trained over 90 recruiters11 on ethical recruitment in Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar. As a result, participants gained the knowledge and skills to help improve protection of over 84,000 migrant workers.

Collaborating with stakeholders in consortia and task forces to develop and share best practices.

  • Seafood Task Force. Walmart has been a member of this international, multi-stakeholder initiative to address forced labor and illegal fishing in the Thai seafood industry since 2015. We have been a member of the organization’s board since 2016 and are a member of several of its working subgroups. The Seafood Task Force has developed a Code of Conduct; established a system to track products across the supply chain; worked with government and industry stakeholders to improve regulation and codes of conduct; and championed fishery improvement projects. In FY2019, the Seafood Task Force developed the Vessel Auditable Standards, which the tuna subgroup used as a tool to raise awareness with fishing vessel representatives in selected locations in FY2020. In FY2021, the Seafood Task Force developed additional tools that are available in different languages and are accessible to anyone for use to accelerate improvement in the industry. For the latest Seafood Task Force progress update see www.seafoodtaskforce.global.
  • Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. In 2017 Walmart was a member of the Joint Committee for Responsible Labor Practices, a committee convened by United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association and including growers, packers, distributors, marketers and retailers of fresh produce and flowers. As a member of the Committee, Walmart helped develop the Ethical Charter. The Charter contains guiding principles and values intended to provide a framework for responsible labor practices in fresh produce and floral supply chains. The Charter is based on a foundation of employment law, good management systems and sound occupational safety and health practices. Since launching the Charter in 2018, Walmart has been an advocate of the Ethical Charter—as it aligns with the values of our own Standards for Suppliers—and a promoter of becoming an endorser. Walmart and other endorsers have been working with ELEVATE and the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) on a project that aims to develop and pilot non-audit approaches focused on management systems, such as self-assessment, self-guided actions and capacity building for managers and workers for the Charter’s implementation. By the end of 2022 Walmart U.S. aims to source 100% from fresh produce and floral suppliers who have endorsed the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. As of the end of FY2022, 69% of sales came from suppliers who have endorsed the Ethical Charter.
  • Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment (LGRR). Walmart has been a member of this company-led collective advocacy platform since 2016. LGRR collaborates with other businesses, the recruitment industry and governments to create demand for responsible recruitment, increase supply of ethically sourced labor and improve protections for migrant workers through effective regulation. In 2020, the LGRR pilot-tested a reporting framework to better understand companies’ activities and progress in implementing the Employer Pays Principle.
  • Responsible Labor Initiative (RLI). Walmart participated in the multi-stakeholder advisory group that assisted the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) in launching the Responsible Labor Initiative in 2017 to bring together stakeholders from multiple industries that share recruitment supply chains to promote due diligence in labor practices and ensure that the rights of vulnerable workers are upheld. Walmart is currently an active member of the RLI Steering Committee. RLI also provides members with tools for forced labor due diligence including an independent worker helpline for RLI members and their suppliers in Malaysia called "Suara Kami."
  • Electronics. Governments, industry organizations and NGOs, including the U.S. Department of Labor and Verité, have identified the electronics supply chains in China and Malaysia as posing potentially higher risks for forced and underage labor. To mitigate these potential risks, we are asking information, communication and technology suppliers for the Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. retail market supply chains to implement the RBA Code of Conduct. Suppliers have the option to become an RBA member (regular or full category) or implement the RBA Validated Assessment Program for each disclosed facility. For Walmart U.S. in FY22, 87% of our information, communication and technology sales were from suppliers who implemented the RBA Code of Conduct.

Strengthening demand/building capacity for responsible recruitment of workers and fair and responsible labor practices.

  • Walmart supplier engagement. To engage suppliers in advancing responsible recruitment across our supply chain, Walmart launched a Supplier Responsible Recruitment initiative at the March 2022 Walmart Supplier Growth Forum. The initiative invites suppliers (starting with seafood, produce and electronics) to adopt and report on practices related to recruiting, worker engagement, and transparency that experts believe will facilitate responsible recruitment. We developed these practices in collaboration with Article One and in consultation with more than a dozen external stakeholders, including suppliers and prominent civil society organizations.
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Philanthropic investments in creating an enabling environment for responsible recruitment.

Transparency Tools

  • FishWise. In FY2020, the Walmart Foundation provided support to FishWise to expand its RISE (Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics) platform, which details steps companies can take to improve evaluation and monitoring of labor practices in seafood supply chains.
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC): TNC uses science-based approaches that incorporate multi-stakeholder input into solutions that benefit nature and people. A Walmart Foundation grant made in FY2021 funds TNC to help advance transparency tools for vessels at sea through two key work streams: (1) connecting satellite monitoring to electronic monitoring on vessels to surface overfishing and sustainability threats in partnership with Global Fishing Watch with research support from University of California (Santa Barbara) and (2) aiming to accelerate the scale of electronic monitoring on longline vessels in the Western and Central Pacific.
  • See Walmart supplier engagement above
  • See Worker and community voice initiatives below

Recruitment Practices

  • Responsible Business Alliance Foundation (RBA-FDTN). The RBA-FDTN is a supporting organization of the RBA which has a leading social compliance standard designed to address forced labor risks across global supply chains. The Walmart Foundation’s FY2021 grant helped diversify and strengthen the market for ethical recruitment by incentivizing private recruitment agencies serving different industries towards becoming an ethical recruiter through the Responsible Recruitment Program and by piloting an innovative economic model that incentivizes employers to participate in responsible recruiting.
  • Stronger Together. Stronger Together's multi-stakeholder program seeks to motivate the U.S. fresh produce sector to recognize and reward responsible recruitment, increasing the supply of ethically sourced labor and reducing risks for workers and businesses. An initial investment from the Walmart Foundation in 2019 supported Stronger Together to drive market demand for responsible recruitment in the North American Corridor by establishing private sector and civil society stakeholder forums, strengthening U.S. produce suppliers’ understanding of recruitment risks for H-2A workers through online webinars and piloting Clearview certification with Farm Labor Contractors (FLC). A further investment in 2021 is supporting Stronger Together to scale the adoption of responsible recruitment by incubating a U.S. not-for-profit association for Responsible Recruitment, piloting the integration of Clearview with a major grower certification to establish a sustainable model for the independent certification of FLC's, and continuing to leverage Stronger Together's U.S. Private Sector Forum of buyers and suppliers to strengthen collaboration and accelerate implementation of responsible recruitment.
  • CIERTO. In FY2021, the Walmart Foundation made an investment in CIERTO, a non-profit international Farm Labor Contractor, to build capacity around the responsible recruitment of H-2A migrant workers through the Mexico/U.S. corridor to U.S. farms and to support implementation of the “Employer Pays Principle” under which the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.
  • Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS). GFEMS was established in 2017 to help mobilize financial resources, unify global partners and efforts, and improve availability of data and evidence needed to improve the impact of forced labor and human trafficking prevention efforts. The Walmart Foundation awarded a grant to GFEMS in 2021, to create safe migration pathways for migrant workers in Malaysia by empowering workers with tools and knowledge to assist workers throughout their migration journey and accelerating the establishment and growth of an ethical recruiter.
  • Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP). LaMP is a U.S. non-profit focused on developing globally scalable and sustainable solutions that allow workers to safely access jobs abroad which support their economic advancement. In 2021 the Walmart Foundation made a grant to LaMP to support the growth and development of professional, quality H-2A recruitment operations in North American agriculture.

Worker and Community Voice

  • Issara Institute, Inc. The Walmart Foundation has supported Issara Institute since 2016 in tackling issues of human trafficking and forced labor in Southeast Asia by empowering migrant workers, transforming recruitment and engaging businesses in the global supply chain. In 2021, the Walmart Foundation awarded a fifth grant to Issara to help modernize labor recruitment channels through expansion of Issara’s Golden Dreams Recruitment Marketplace, a system centered around worker empowerment, across a range of industries in Thailand and Malaysia and create a more enabling environment through programming and education with key actors.
  • Polaris. Polaris works to tackle human trafficking and end modern slavery. They have built a North American Safety Net that connects national anti-trafficking hotlines in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Funding from the Walmart Foundation supported Polaris’s implementation of Nonechka, a mobile multilingual tech tool to engage Mexican agricultural migrant workers and strengthen their knowledge around potential exploitation. Funding also supported collaboration and sharing of best practices between victim services hotlines in Mexico and the U.S. and resulted in more than 360 labor trafficking and exploitation cases referred for action by the appropriate authorities between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020. In 2022 the Walmart Foundation made a grant to Polaris focusing on building a data ecosystem and engagement channels to empower and promote the responsible recruitment of migrant workers in U.S.-Mexican agriculture. This data ecosystem will be leveraged to advocate for policy changes that increase protections for workers and strengthen accountability for exploitative employers and recruiters.
  • International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). IREX works to reduce human trafficking across the Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia recruitment corridors. The Walmart Foundation’s FY2020 grant will help IREX expand their community engagement and outreach to mitigate first-mile risks faced by migrant workers and build capacity of local actors to sustain safe migration activities in their communities. This grant also enables IREX to support migrant workers and their families’ most pressing needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic by creating mobile safe migration resource centers for targeted outreach and launching online information campaigns designed to improve workers’ awareness of their rights and how to access key services.

Supporting strong policy and regulation. Walmart engages governments to advocate for policy change enforcement of current laws and regulations (for example, we have advocated for responsible recruitment through the Bali Process and direct engagement with government leaders in southeast Asia).

Truckers Against Trafficking 
In the U.S., Walmart has incorporated training from Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) that helps transportation professionals recognize and report suspected human trafficking incidents. Since 2019, TAT training has been a part of both the recurring driver training program and the new-driver onboarding process for our private fleet drivers. In FY2022, we completed TAT training for over 5,600 drivers on how they can combat human trafficking while operating their vehicles.

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Worker Safety

Walmart expects our suppliers to provide a safe working environment, but endemic safety challenges remain in many parts of the world. We have prioritized initiatives focused on the apparel and footwear industries in geographies with acute safety challenges to help improve worker safety in our own supply chain and beyond.

Safety in Bangladesh

Walmart was a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which concluded its five-year mission at the end of 2018. The Alliance trained nearly 1.6 million factory employees on basic safety and provided more than 1.5 million workers in 1,000 factories access to a helpline to anonymously report safety or other job-related concerns. Approximately 93% of total remediation items across Alliance-affiliated factories were completed—including 90% of high-priority remediation items. Although the Alliance’s work concluded, we continue to prioritize safety in Bangladesh, including through Nirapon, an organization focused on monitoring ongoing safety compliance and maintaining the progress made through the Alliance and other safety initiatives.

Life and Building Safety (LABS) Initiative

Walmart is a founding member (and on the steering committee) of LABS, an initiative comprising European and American brands that have come together to set international best practices for factory safety in the apparel and footwear industries. LABS works with engineering companies to develop country-specific standards for safety in factories. It also commissions audits around fire, electrical and structural risks and asks factories to develop supervised Corrective Action Plans to remediate problems and then assesses implementation of their plans. LABS also provides training for factory workers on safety, maintaining fire prevention systems, and use of the LABS helpline to report building safety concerns. LABS has been active in India and Vietnam since 2019 where over 572,000 workers have benefited from the program. In May 2022 LABS launched its initiative in Cambodia where it will operate in all major hubs of Cambodia including Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, and Takeo and is expected to benefit approximately 206,000 workers in Cambodia in 2022. See LABS' December 2021 Program Report for an overview of its activities since inception in August 2019.

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Gender Equity

Since 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have shaped and participated in special initiatives to help empower women working in global supply chains around the world. In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation undertook a five-year Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, which included a commitment from Walmart to source $20 billion from women-owned businesses for its U.S. business and from the Walmart Foundation to support training for 1 million women on farms, in factories and in retail. Walmart also contributed funding to create open-source content for the Empower@Work Collaborative, a platform to drive collective action in global supply chains to benefit women workers and advance gender equity. In addition, Walmart continues to empower women-owned businesses through our engagement with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, and by sourcing products and services from these companies. Over the past 10 years, we have sourced more than $42 billion with women-owned businesses.

Walmart Foundation’s Market Access program, launched in 2017, focuses on helping Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) build capacity in India, Mexico and Central America to help smallholder farmers prosper. The Walmart Foundation has awarded grants of over US$67 million to benefit smallholders in India, Mexico and Central America since 2017. These grants are expected to reach over 730,000 smallholder farmers; over 320,000 or 44% are women. These programs are strengthening farmer livelihoods, enhancing value chains, growing the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices, unlocking access to finance, growing formal market linkages, strengthening FPOs and empowering women farmers in FPOs. As part of this total reach to smallholders, the Walmart Foundation has met its 5-year commitment to invest US$25 million to improve farmer livelihoods in India. Since 2018, the Walmart Foundation has funded philanthropic grants totaling just over US$29 million, supporting 17 grant programs (13 grantees), which in turn are supporting over 590,000 smallholder farmers of which over 280,000 or 48 percent are women. The Walmart Foundation's recently published white paper, Seeding advancement of women in smallholder farming: insights from the Market Access portfolio, highlights lessons learned from its Market Access portfolio. We found that the following areas are most successful in accelerating female farmers’ economic prosperity: women’s membership and leadership in farmer producer organizations, women’s skills and capacity development in farm production systems, women’s inclusive crop and marketing programs and women’s access to finance.

We will continue to integrate efforts to support gender equity throughout our business, ranging from responsible sourcing standards and social auditing practices along the supply chain to internal gender equity policies, practices and commitments.

Challenges

  • Human rights risks are complex and are often the result of systemic issues including deeply entrenched economic practices, workers lacking knowledge, support or tools to safeguard their rights, and inconsistent government regulation and enforcement across countries in which products are made. These factors make it challenging for any single organization to have an impact.
  • Progress in addressing human rights issues is dependent on the maturity, rigor and efficacy of third-party standards and initiatives, which requires a critical mass of suppliers and retailers to align on common standards and best practices. For certain practices, there currently is no universal set of standards for responsible or sustainable production and/or certification beyond compliance with the law (e.g., responsible recruitment, wage/hour). Furthermore, there are limits to the efficacy of tools used to monitor compliance with expectations.
  • The success of Walmart’s programs is dependent on suppliers’ capacity and willingness to meet high standards, as well as their performance.
  • Human rights risks are often upstream and beyond the reach of traditional retailer oversight and monitoring tools. Lack of reliable data on source/origin of certain commodities and product ingredients and the way they are produced—as well as the blending and commoditization of product inputs and ingredients—is a complicating factor. The use of technology improving transparency and traceability (e.g., blockchain) can help, but adoption takes time and further innovation is necessary to meet these challenges. 
  • The breadth of Walmart's global product offerings and dispersed geographical reach of supply chains can present challenges for supplier engagement and risk identification and mitigation. Moreover, certain products can only be obtained from specific regions of the world, limiting options for alternative sources.
  • Walmart’s ability to scale more sustainable options is dependent on customer preferences and demand (which can depend on the cost and convenience of such options) and the availability and cost of preferred products, ingredients, commodities and inputs. Growth in and/or changes in our business can challenge our ability to meet customer demands consistent with our aspiration.
  • Pandemics, weather-related events and political/social unrest can create supply/demand volatility and interrupt supply chains.

Endnotes

1. Where a facility is required to be disclosed to Walmart, “Active” status denotes that the supplier can use the facility for Walmart production.

2. Facility color ratings denote the seriousness of findings identified in the audits.

3. Based on data pulled from Ethical Charter website on March 3, 2022.

4. Based on RBA membership (regular or full category) or implementing the RBA Validated Assessment Program for each disclosed facility.

5. A diverse supplier is defined as a U.S. privately held company that is recognized as 51% owned and operated by a woman, minority, veteran, disabled veteran, person with a disability or member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community.

6. A diverse supplier is defined as a U.S. privately held company that is recognized as 51% owned and operated by a woman, minority, veteran, disabled veteran, person with a disability or member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community.

7. For more information on these programs see Walmex 2021 Report - Adopta Una PyMe (p. 169), Una Mana Para Crecer (p. 170-71), Tierra Fértil (p. 172-73), and Pequeño Productor (p. 174-75).

8. For more information on this program see Massmart FY2021 Integrated Annual Report page 96.

9. Calculated based on total spend of $350 billion from FY2021 – FY2031. Sources: Environmental Defense Fund, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Boston Consulting Group analysis.

10. Per Boston Consulting Group using data from the Economic Policy Institute and Bureau of Labor statistics.

11. Walmart opened training to recruitment agencies external from our supply chain, enabling IOM to reach a total of 93 recruiters. According to IOM, 39 of those recruiters were supplying workers for Walmart suppliers’ facilities at the time.

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