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New Report Finds Walmart Not Meeting Standards

PHOTO: 'Walmart at the Crossroads,' a new report by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, looks closely at the labor and environmental records of 22 of Walmart's major suppliers, and recommends significant changes to current practices. Photo credit: Benjamin G. Robinson/Wikimedia Commons.
PHOTO: 'Walmart at the Crossroads,' a new report by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, looks closely at the labor and environmental records of 22 of Walmart's major suppliers, and recommends significant changes to current practices. Photo credit: Benjamin G. Robinson/Wikimedia Commons.
June 10, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas - A new report from the Food Chain Workers Alliance exposes a disconnect between Walmart's labor and environmental claims and the reality in its food supply chain. According to Walmart's ethical sourcing standards, its suppliers must comply with all laws and regulations related to labor, immigration, health and safety, and the environment.

The study found that Walmart has neglected to enforce its own standards, said Jose Oliva, the alliance's co-director, in an interview with Workers Independent News Service.

"We found in our report there were a slew of major problems," he said, "everything from gender and racial discrimination, unfair treatment, low pay, violations of workers' freedom of association - all the way to worker fatalities."

The report alleges a large seafood supplier to Walmart was recently exposed for its ties to slave labor, and a major Walmart egg supplier has been targeted by the U.S. Justice Department for discriminatory practices against newly-hired non-U.S. citizens.

The report notes in 2005, Walmart announced an ambitious goal of operating 100 percent on renewable energy. But ten years later, renewables account for only 16 percent of Walmart's total U.S. energy consumption. In 2010, the company said it would cut 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of its supply chain by the end of 2015. Today, Walmart has reached 38 percent of that target. Oliva says Walmart needs independent oversight to better monitor problems in their supply chain.


"I think the next step is for them is to actually put their money where their mouth is," he said, "and to stop giving lip service to environmental and worker issues and actually set up a third-party, independent monitoring entity."

In addition to third-party oversight, the report recommends Walmart improve supply chain transparency, and establish a process that allows any person or organization to flag when a contractor or subcontractor is failing to meet the company's stated ethics and goals.

The report is online at Food Chain Workers Alliance.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - TX