Walmart is working towards improving working conditions in the fresh produce industry. Our initial focus is to help mitigate potential risks of forced labor, underage labor and unsafe working conditions in Mexican produce supplied to our U.S. retail market. To better understand the industry, Responsible Sourcing associates have engaged with produce suppliers, industry stakeholders and Walmart Global Sourcing associates in Mexico.
In 2014, Walmart joined the Fair Food Program, a unique partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and participating retail buyers organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). The Fair Food Program encourages improved working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms.
To help align the broader industry around a common approach to responsible labor practices, Walmart worked with United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association’s Joint Committee on Responsible Labor Practices to help develop the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices. Launched in July 2018, the Ethical Charter establishes guiding principles for the industry covering respect for laws at work, respect for professional conduct, and respect for human rights. Walmart was one of the first retailers to publicly endorse the Ethical Charter when it launched.
Walmart is also encouraging the development of mechanisms for suppliers to demonstrate their compliance against the Ethical Charter, including processes to evaluate third-party programs, which may be used to demonstrate supply chain compliance. More than 100 of Walmart’s produce suppliers have confirmed to Walmart their commitment to strengthen responsible labor practices by adhering to the Ethical Charter.