People in Supply Chains

SASB: FB-FR-430a.3
GRI: 2-6, 3-3, 204-1
S | Published: May 19, 2023

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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

Responsible Sourcing Metrics
Supplier-disclosed facilities in “active” status1 >27,800 >27,200 >26,900
Number of third-party responsible sourcing facility audit reports assessed ~14,000 ~14,000 ~13,100
Facility color ratings for assessed audit reports as a percentage of all assessed audits for the fiscal year2 Green 23.5% 23.7% 22.6%
Yellow 68.8% 68.8% 68.5%
Orange 7.3% 7.2% 8.7%
Red 0.4% 0.3% 0.3%
Number of facilities in small supplier compliance program 274 335 316
Number of countries where assessed third-party responsible sourcing facility audits were conducted 84 91 66
Number of cases opened related to allegations of supply chain misconduct 843 714 822
Progress Toward Social Sustainability Commitments
Goal Metric FY2021 FY2022 FY2023
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
Walmart U.S.: 69% Sam's Club U.S.: 99%
Walmart U.S.: 99%
% Walmart U.S. information, communication and technology net sales from suppliers implementing the RBA Code of Conduct4 87% 79%
Amount sourced from diverse suppliers to our U.S. businesses—goods and services5 > $13 billion > $13.3 billion > $13 billion
Number of diverse suppliers to our U.S. businesses—goods and services ~ 2,900~ 2,600~ 2,400
Between 2018-2022, Walmart Foundation to invest $25 million to strengthen smallholders in farmer producer organizations and farm yields in India Cumulative investment since 2018 >$20 million >$29 million >$39 million

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 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.

People in Supply Chains: Relevance to Our Business and Society

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 tens of thousands of 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, by providing resources and information to clarify expected practices, and by holding 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 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.

In October 2022, Walmart hosted an investor webinar on our approach to People in Supply Chains, which included discussion of Responsible Sourcing, Creating Economic Opportunity for People in Supply Chains, and Collaborating to Address Systemic Risks to Worker Well-being. Watch the webinar online here.

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.

People in Supply Chains: Responsible Sourcing

Program Foundations


Orange Facilities

Less than 2% facilities assessed received a successive orange rating, highlighting functional remediation systems


Yellow or Green

90% of assessed audit reports as a percentage of all assessed audits for the fiscal year were rated yellow or green

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 may issue and communicate more specific requirements as a condition of sourcing where doing so would help to mitigate acute risks to human rights; for example, we have issued and communicated specific policies relating to supply chain transparency expectations and safety in Bangladesh. We also engaged in targeted communication about these updates with strategic suppliers and suppliers in riskier geographies so they had an opportunity to ask questions and provide us with information on how they plan to comply with these requirements.

Walmart's 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 SuppliersCode of Conduct, Global Responsible Sourcing Compliance Policy, and Global Forced Labor Prevention Policy, among other resources.

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.

We also publish dedicated resources, such as the Supplier Requirements for Supply Chain Traceability, which establish expectations that Suppliers document their production and procurement processes, maintain strong management systems for gaining supply chain transparency, and manage compliance in higher-risk upstream supply chains.

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, 2023, 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 experienced merchants. Responsible Sourcing associates also provide merchants with a profile of the social compliance status of active, disclosed facilities and suppliers relevant to their business in order to enable informed decisions.

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.

Assessing Risk. Responsible Sourcing conducts a regular risk assessment to better understand social compliance concerns in the supply chain. This assessment analyzes Walmart's internal audit and case management data, along with publicly available data (e.g. U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report and the World Bank Governance Indicators), to identify the prevalence of issues occurring in countries where Walmart has sourcing activity and/or retail operations. The results allow Walmart to consider opportunities for enhanced awareness or tailored initiatives.

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. Suppliers with new facilities located in higher risk regions/territories are also required to complete a third-party audit for such facilities and receive a Green or Yellow assessment before the facility can produce for Walmart.  
  • Channel. New facilities that produce products where Walmart will be the importer of record must be audited and receive an acceptable result prior to beginning production for Walmart. See Audit and Assessment Policy & Guidance.
  • Prior audit results. Upon audit, facilities are given a rating from Red to Green (see Facility & Supplier Compliance Assessments below). Audit results determine re-audit requirements; for instance, an Orange rating may require reauditing more frequently than a Yellow rating. See Audit and Assessment Policy & Guidance.

Walmart may at times undertake additional measures to assess or evaluate risk. For instance, Walmart is participating in the Owned Operations working group of the Consumer Goods Forum, which includes Human Rights Due Diligence activities.

Disclosing facilities. 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 other facilities to be disclosed.

Assigning and conducting audits. Facilities are selected for audit based on the risk factors discussed above, including regional trends, import channels, and prior audit results. As of January 2023, suppliers may choose from among 11 third-party auditing programs to satisfy monitoring requirements for Walmart. Walmart selected these programs following a benchmarking review of their governance, scope, and robustness.

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: General compliance with minimal issues to be addressed
  • Orange: More significant issues that should be remediated
  • Red: Serious issues that ordinarily lead to the facility no longer being authorized to produce products for Walmart.

Three consecutive Orange ratings may result in a Red rating, regardless of whether the facility remains in good standing with the audit program chosen. 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 supplier relationship with Walmart. Walmart may also choose to sever its relationship with a supplier based on a single instance or event, as circumstances warrant.

Suppliers are responsible for providing an audit report for facilities that fall within the audit scope and for correcting non-compliances. 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. Audit frequency is linked with regional and other forms of risk, as described above.

Strengthening Capacity of Global Audit Systems

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

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. APSCA helps ensure a high standard of quality for the industry: for instance, the organization revoked membership of an enlisted auditing firm for noncompliance. As of April 2023, more than 2,000 certified social compliance auditors were 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.

Assessed Audits by Color Rating

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 7 0 G r een Y ell o w O r ange R ed 2 3 .7 % 6 8 .8 % 7 .2 % 0 . 3 % R a t i n g s B r e a k d o w n
~14,000 Third-party Audit Reports Assessed

As facilities in regions/territories with higher levels of risk are subject to more frequent audits than facilities in lower-risk regions/territories, this data skews towards those facilities in higher-risk regions/territories.

Worker Voice and Responding to Allegations of Non-Compliance


Outside Audit Process

Nearly 50% of cases arise from sources other than the auditing processes, indicating functional worker voice systems

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 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 FY2023, we opened over 800 cases related to more serious allegations of non-compliances with our Standards for Suppliers. While cases are opened based on higher-risk audit findings, nearly 50% of cases arise from sources other than the audit process, indicating functioning worker voice systems.

FY2023 Responsible Sourcing Allegations Received, By Allegation Category 
Safety Conditions84
Involuntary or Underage Labor203
Unauthorized Production225
Employment Practices96
Working Conditions49
Total Cases822

Managing Non-Compliance & Risk

Most audited supplier facilities are found to be compliant with our foundational expectations (receiving a Green rating), or generally compliant (receiving a Yellow rating). By policy, suppliers are required to remediate any identified non-compliances with our Standards for Suppliers, even if the final assessment is Green or Yellow. Our re-auditing requirements allow us to monitor whether identified issues remain or have been corrected.

Audits and cases do surface more serious issues. For example, approximately 8.7% of audits in FY2023 resulted in a facility receiving an Orange rating. Where that occurs, compliance teams work with merchants and sourcing teams 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. Remediation typically occurs: in FY2023, less than 2% of facilities assessed received a successive Orange rating.

Where information received through an audit or allegation indicates a particularly serious issue may be present and/or we do not have sufficient facts to make a determination as to how to handle the matter, we deploy a team of Walmart investigators to gather facts through on-site visits to facilities or through other means. Serious allegations that may warrant in-depth scrutiny could include indicators of forced labor, such as restriction of movement and payment of recruitment fees.

Where 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. For example, 33 facilities received a Red rating in FY2023 via audits and an additional 58 received a Red rating via the case management process. Between 2018-2022, Walmart has stopped doing business with 15 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.

Made in USA

Walmart has a long history of supporting American sourcing. More than two-thirds of Walmart U.S.’s total product spend in FY2023 was on items our suppliers reported were 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. In FY2023, we satisfied our commitment to invest an incremental $250 billion over our FY2013 purchases on products made, grown, or assembled in the United States before 2023. Additionally, in March 2021 Walmart committed to invest an incremental $350 billion over our FY2021 purchases on products made, grown or assembled in the United States over 10 years. As of the end of FY2023, we have increased cumulative receipts by $47 billion towards that goal.

Read More: Supplier Opportunity.

Supplier Inclusion

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.

Our U.S. businesses sourced more than $13 billion in goods and services from approximately 2,400 diverse suppliers in FY2023. 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.

Supporting India Manufacturing & Entrepreneurs

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. Example support includes:

  • In December 2020, Walmart announced it would seek to triple its exports of goods from India to $10 billion per year by the end of 2027.  As of the end of FY2023, Walmart has reached approximately $3.4 billion in exports from India.
  • Walmart and Flipkart focus on building supplier capacity, including through Flipkart’s Samarth initiative, which helps MSMEs register for and succeed in online sales, and which recently reached the milestone of positively impacting 1.5 million livelihoods across India, and through Walmart’s Vriddhi Supplier Development Program, which aims to train and prepare 50,000 of India’s MSMEs to "Make in India".
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Market Access for Small Producers

Walmart's Mexico, Central America, South Africa, and India markets have robust sourcing and supplier development programs focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including Adopta Una PyMe ("Adopt an SME"), Una Mana Para Crecer ("A Helping Hand to Grow"), Tierra Fértil ("Fertile Soil"), and Pequeño Productor ("Small Farmer").

Since 2017, the Walmart Foundation has awarded grants of over $86 million to benefit smallholders in India, Mexico, and Central America. These grants are expected to reach over one million smallholder farmers, of whom over 50% are women. In 2023, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced a new commitment to fund projects designed to help build capacity and advance the economic livelihoods of one million smallholder farmers in India by 2028 with at least 50% women. This follows a previous Walmart Foundation commitment to invest $25 million to strengthen smallholders in farmer producer organizations and farm yields in India between 2018 and 2022. That commitment was completed in FY2023 with over $39 million invested through 24 grant programs with 16 grantees.

People in Supply Chains: Diverse Sourcing

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.

As part of our ongoing approach to respect human rights, Walmart has committed to working with others to address risks to the dignity of workers in a minimum of 10 retail supply chains by 2025.

Worker Dignity in Retail Supply Chains
At Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, we’re focusing on 10 retail supply chains to address worker dignity.

from Bangladesh


from Thailand


from Thailand


from U.S. & Mexico


from Malaysia


Hard Home
from Malaysia


Home Textiles & Apparel
from India


Home Textiles & Apparel
from Vietnam


from Jordan


from Guatemala

To help prioritize key geographies and supply chains, we considered:

  • Internal information: Walmart's salient human rights issues; Responsible Sourcing Compliance risk assessment; sourcing and compliance data, and sourcing and sales data.
  • External information: World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators; Global Slavery Proportions Index; BSI Supply Chain Risks Reports; and government, NGO, and media reports.

Within these supply chains, we are focused on addressing issues of forced labor and responsible recruitment, worker safety, and/or gender equity.

While specific interventions depend on the supply chain and issues in play, approaches within the 10 retail commodity supply chains typically include:

  • Engaging suppliers to reinforce expectations, build capacity, and continuously improve
  • Collaborating with stakeholders in consortia or task forces to develop and share best practices
  • Investing in data and technology to increase transparency around labor practices
  • Strengthening demand for responsible labor practices
  • Enhancing worker and community voices
  • Engaging with governments to advocate for laws, regulations and enforcement

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 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 efforts6 have focused on the following (which include over $55 million in grants promoting responsible recruitment of workers and fair and responsible labor practices in supply chains).

Setting Standards and Expectations for Suppliers

Walmart engages its suppliers to implement best practices and report on outcomes. Examples include:

  • Supplier Leadership. Walmart launched its Supplier Leadership Program on People in March 2022 with an initial focus on responsible recruitment. The program seeks to engage suppliers of seafood, fresh produce, and entertainment products to set goals and report progress in three priority areas: recruitment practices and capacity; worker and community empowerment; and transparency. Walmart developed the program after consulting with stakeholders, including suppliers and civil society organizations. Suppliers were invited to engage in the people program via the Walmart Sustainability Portal during Walmart’s 2022 sustainability reporting season; over 400 suppliers set goals and/or reported progress under one or more of the three priority areas.
  • Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. Walmart joined other members of the Joint Committee for Responsible Labor Practices convened by United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association to develop the Ethical Charter in 2017. The Ethical Charter is a code of conduct that sets out key guiding principles and values and provides a framework for responsible labor practices in the sector and is aligned with Walmart's Standards for Suppliers. Walmart has encouraged its suppliers to endorse the Ethical Charter; as of the end of FY2023, 99% of Walmart U.S. fresh produce and floral net sales and 99% of Sam's Club U.S. fresh produce and floral net sales came from suppliers who have endorsed the Charter. Additionally, Walmart (alongside other buyers and suppliers) worked with ELEVATE and the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) to develop and pilot non-audit and capacity-building approaches to support the implementation of the Ethical Charter. Building on that work, in 2022 the Walmart Foundation made an investment of more than $2 million in EFI to support industry implementation of the Ethical Charter.
  • 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.
Supplier Engagement Program
  • Strengthen Recruitment
    Recruit workers through ethical and responsible recruiters or hire directly
  • Build Capacity
    Build capacity and train staff who hire workers on responsible recruitment and forced labor prevention
  • Invest in Responsible Labor Systems
    Invest in capacity building resources to strengthen recruitment agencies
  • Strengthen Awareness
    Leverage NGOs to strengthen migrant workers’ knowledge around issues like safe migration
  • Strengthen Voice
    Leverage worker-driven, ethical recruitment programs and CSOs to implement channels for independent grievance and remedy
  • Leverage Regional or Industry-Based Initiatives
    Leverage regional/country projects to advance responsible recruitment
  • Commit to and Report
    Document and publicly report on challenges, successes, and impact of responsible recruitment activities
  • Map Supply Chain
    Strengthen knowledge and process to assess risk to inform targeted effort
  • Validate Approach
    Seek independent review to identify management gaps and develop time-bound action plans to strengthen current approach
R e p o r t P r o g r e s s A n n u a l l y S e t S m a r t G o al s

Collaborating to Develop and Share Best Practices

We form and join coalitions to develop and share best practices with a common goal of addressing forced labor in supply chains. Examples include:

  • 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.
  • 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 the 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. In 2022, the LGRR established three Action Groups to promote responsible recruitment with a focus on women migrant workers, government engagement, and the global recruitment industry. Walmart is a member of the government engagement group.
  • 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. 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." Walmart served as a member of the RLI Steering Committee through the end of 2022.
  • Electronics. Governments, industry organizations and NGOs have identified the electronics supply chains in China and Malaysia as presenting heightened risks for forced and underage labor. To address this, we engaged with 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. 79% of in-scope Walmart U.S. net sales in FY2023 were from suppliers who implemented the RBA Code of Conduct.
  • Responsible Business Alliance Foundation. A FY2021 Walmart Foundation grant is intended to incentivize recruitment agencies to adopt ethical recruitment practices and incentivize employers to use ethical recruitment agencies.
  • International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). IREX works in Nepal to reduce human trafficking by providing at least 20 communities and over 100,000 people with resources and information around safe migration, and supporting over 200 government officials and criminal justice system actors to better assist migrants and their families. The Walmart Foundation’s FY2023 grant will help IREX build on their Navigator program in Nepal by: increasing access to accurate, timely information about the migration process and identifying responsible recruiters; expanding workers’ skills around financial, digital and information literacy; and strengthening civil society organizations and government institutions.
  • 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 the evaluation and monitoring of labor practices in seafood supply chains.

Strengthening the Supply of & Demand For Responsibly Recruited Labor

We believe in the power of markets and seek to create demand for responsibly recruited labor and build capacity to meet that demand. Examples include:

  • 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. Starting in 2019, the Walmart Foundation has made two investments in Stronger Together to drive market demand for responsible recruitment. The first established private sector and civil society stakeholder forums and helped strengthen U.S. produce suppliers’ understanding of recruitment risks for H-2A workers through online webinars. In 2021, a second investment is supporting Stronger Together to incubate a U.S. not-for-profit association for responsible recruitment to professionalize the practices of farm labor contractors and to further strengthen Stronger Together's U.S. Private Sector Forum of buyers and suppliers to support collaboration and accelerate the implementation of responsible recruitment. It has also supported the production of a new short film, "Far From Home", intended to highlight the importance of responsible recruitment to employers and migrant workers in North American agriculture.
  • 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.
  • Avina Americas Inc: In 2021 the Walmart Foundation made a grant to Avina Americas to support the development of a more equitable recruitment model for migrant workers in Mexican agriculture. The work focuses on strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to advance worker rights, including on key topics such as sexual harassment; abuse and trafficking; and responsible recruitment.  The grant supports the development of a shared vision for responsible recruitment amongst migrant workers representatives, civil society, government, the private sector and international organizations.

Investing in Tools and Transparency

We have funded efforts to understand the prevalence of social concerns in relevant supply chains and/or regions and track progress toward improvement. Examples include:

  • 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. Beginning in 2017 the Walmart Foundation made a series of grants to better understand and strengthen protections for agricultural workers including women and Indigenous migrants, help target enforcement efforts, and assess the growing role of an increasingly Mexican-born workforce in North American agriculture. These investments have strengthened our understanding of the farm labor market including the extent to which farms supplying different markets comply with labor laws and how direct-hire models strengthen labor protections.
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 2019, Walmart engaged IOM to better understand the scope and scale of migrant labor in Walmart’s supply chains in Thailand and Malaysia and deliver training to increase awareness of responsible recruitment practices, improve the recruitment process of migrant workers, and decrease the risk of workers’ exploitation. IOM trained 100 facilities in Thailand and Malaysia and trained over 90 recruiters7 on ethical recruitment. As a result, participants gained the knowledge and skills to help improve the protection of over 84,000 migrant workers.
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC): A Walmart Foundation grant made in FY2021 funds TNC to help advance transparency tools for vessels at sea through two key work streams: 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 aiming to accelerate the scale of electronic monitoring on longline vessels in the Western and Central Pacific. A FY23 investment from the Walmart Foundation will help TNC partner with Conservation International and Global Fishing Watch to prototype and test how electronic monitoring technologies in fisheries may reduce the opacity of human rights abuses at sea.
  • Global Fishing Watch (GFW). GFW creates and publicly shares knowledge about human activity at sea using cutting-edge technology to better safeguard and enable fair and sustainable use of the ocean. In FY2023, the Walmart Foundation made a grant to GFW that will support a data-driven and partnership approach with government, industry, and civil society partners in the Pacific region to identify vessels and build common approaches to reduce the risks of forced labor and illegal fishing in the seafood supply chain.

Enhancing Worker Voice

We support the development of tools and programs to build worker and community voices. Examples include:

  • 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 the expansion of Issara’s Golden Dreams Recruitment Marketplace across a range of industries in Thailand and Malaysia that will allow prospective migrants to research and access job opportunities advertised across a range of industries in Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Polaris. Polaris works to end human trafficking and has built a 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 which was also selected for the 2023 Tech Against Trafficking Accelerator Program. Funding also supported collaboration and sharing of best practices between victim services hotlines in Mexico and the U.S. and resulted in 539 labor trafficking and exploitation cases being referred for action by the appropriate authorities between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. 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.

Advocating for Good Public Policy

We advocate for good public policy. Examples include:

    • Walmart engagement. Walmart engages governments to advocate for policy change and the 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.
    • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Walmart Foundation made a grant to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2023 to foster positive changes to policy and industry recruitment and employment practices within North American agricultural labor markets through recommendations for evidence-based policies embraced by diverse stakeholders.

    Worker Safety

    Walmart expects our suppliers to provide a safe working environment, but endemic safety challenges remain in certain 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

    We continue to prioritize safety in Bangladesh, including through Nirapon, an organization focused on monitoring ongoing safety compliance and maintaining the progress made in recent years. We require Bangladesh facilities within the scope of our disclosure policy to be in good standing with Nirapon; we use Nirapon safety assessments in our facility color ratings and facilities that backslide on safety or fail to remediate issues can be assessed a Red rating.

    Nirapon built on the foundational work of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which concluded its five-year mission at the end of 2018. Walmart was a founding member of the Alliance, which 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.

    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 and in Cambodia since 2022. Collectively, LABS programs have reached over 837,000 workers. See the LABS website for further details.

    People in Supply Chains: Life and Building Safety Initiative

    Gender Equity

    Beginning with the 2011 launch of the five-year Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have shaped and participated in special initiatives to help empower women working in global supply chains around the world. Since the conclusion of that initiative, Walmart has continued to support gender equity in supply chains, including by:

    • Sourcing products and services from women-led companies,
    • Engagement with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, which named Walmart as one of America's Top Corporations for Women Business Enterprises. 
    • The Walmart Foundation’s Market Access program discussed above.

    We pursue efforts in support of 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.


    • 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. The use of technology to improve transparency and traceability 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.

    About Our Reporting

    Additional Resources


    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 provided by Ethical Charter on April 6, 2023.

    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 at least 51% owned and operated by a woman, minority, veteran, disabled veteran, person with a disability or member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) community. "Diverse supplier" carries this definition throughout this brief.

    6. The Walmart Foundation uses philanthropy to complement business initiatives – we complement and extend the impact of Walmart’s social and environmental initiatives through philanthropic efforts.

    7. 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.