Walmart Supercenters (hereafter Walmart) has a full offering of groceries and general

merchandise in a single store. Walmart offers to its customers a one-stop shopping experience
and is the largest private employer in the US as well as being the world’s largest retailer. It has
more than 10,130 retail units under 69 different banners in 27 countries. They all share a
common goal: ‘Saving people money so they can live better’. Walmart employs 2.2 million
associates’ worldwide and generated net sales of $ 443 billion during the fiscal year of 2012.
Walmart was founded in 1962, with the opening of the first Walmart discount store in
Rogers, Arkansas (US). The company was incorporated as Walmart Stores, Inc. on 31 October
1969. The company’s shares began trading on OTC (Over-The-Counter) markets in 1970 and
were listed on the NYSE two years later.

 Walmart’s CSR policies and reporting
Several authors have pointed to Walmart as an important emerging private actor in the
transformation of law making in the CSR field, referring to it as a ‘global legislator.’ They
highlight how Walmart is able to use its contractual relationships to regulate behaviour among
its suppliers around the globe with respect to product quality, working conditions for the
suppliers’ employees, and ethical conduct. Since 2007 Walmart publishes its annual report on
its website. It was initially called the ‘Global Sustainability Report’ and later changed to
‘Global Responsibility Report’ in 2011. Mike Duke, Walmart’s CEO (Chief Executive
Officer), says ‘This change reflects the new social and environmental dimensions we have
added to our efforts. We believe transparency and accountability are part of being a good and
responsible company.’ Walmart’s annual report publishes its constant and progressive work
towards social responsibility issues. The Global Responsibility Report 2011 is divided into
three main reporting parameters: Environment, Social and Goals.
Walmart’s 2011 report covers every corner of CSR issues. It points out how its successful
‘Sustainability 360’ model has helped Walmart to be the retail leader in the market. It also
communicates the significant progress made by and the new reduction goals of greenhouse gas
emissions of its supply chain by 2015. Walmart’s financial contributions in kind, such as
investments in education, health, commitments to fight hunger, support for local farmers and
access to healthier and affordable food, can also be found in Walmart’s Global Responsibility
Report 2011.
Walmart’s current performance, policies and financial figures at first sight portray Walmart
as a role model company on CSR

Edith Arana (‘plaintiffs’). allege that female employees in Walmart and Sam’s Club retail stores were discriminated against based on their gender. Dukes et al. They stated that they were discriminated against regarding pay and promotion to top management positions. which in 2001 was estimated to comprise more than 1. Justice Antonin Scalia concluded that the millions of plaintiffs and their claims did not have enough in common: ‘Without some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together. Walmart Stores Inc. the situation changed on 20 June 2011 when the US Supreme Court reversed the class certification. Plaintiffs Betty Dukes. This suit is expected to be the first of many additional class . The Court held that the nationwide class certification approved by the lower courts was not consistent with the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Article 23(a) governing class actions. Finally. of Title VII). In October 2011.5 million women. v. Dukes et al. and the press reports accusing Walmart of using child labour. Walmart’s conflicts Walmart has faced many obstacles over the years. v. Walmart Stores. v. It commenced as a national class action against Walmart.’ Dukes v. on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated. Walmart Stores Inc. it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members’ claims for relief will produce a common answer to the crucial question why I was disfavoured. Dukes et al. included all women employed by Walmart nationwide at any time after 26 December 1998. Walmart appealed to the Ninth Circuit in 2005. arguing that the seven lead plaintiffs were not typical or common of the class. It would have been the largest class action lawsuit in US history. Patricia Surgeson. §§ 2000e et seq. there by violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U. In 2004. the case did not end there. Despite the Supreme Court resolution. time. the plaintiffs’ lawyers filed an amended lawsuit limiting the class to female Walmart employees in California. money and efforts invested up to this point.S. the US District Court for the Northern District of California certified a national class of female employees challenging retail store pay and management promotion policies and practices under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Article 23(b)(2). This statement can be illustrated in two relevant cases: Walmart Stores Inc. Walmart appealed to the Supreme Court in August 2010 after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld class certification. started a decade ago and is still being heard by the US Courts. It seems that legal and social challenges have acted as important reasons for the development of its code of conduct and annual reporting.C.

Walmart’s reporting culture was imitated by the rest of the companies in the market. Critiques said that it only discourages workers from telling the truth to factory auditors for fear of losing their jobs and encourages suppliers to hide abuses or to subcontract work to other factories that will escape inspection. Gender discrimination was not mentioned at any stage throughout the whole document. Nevertheless.000 women regarding pay and job promotion as well as requiring nondiscriminatory pay and promotion criteria. Walmart’s 2005 and 2012 COC ‘Standard for Suppliers’ explicitly establish that Walmart would not tolerate the use of child labour. The 2005 COC sets the age of 14 as the minimum age for suppliers and subcontractors to hire workers. Walmart alleges that despite its effort to inspect all factories. the Radio Canada programme Zone Libre made public the news that Walmart was using child labour at two factories in Bangladesh. primarily because of underage labour violations. However. alleges discriminatory practices against more than 90. This report was elaborated after the filing of the lawsuit by the female employees in 2001 and the damaging campaigns and press publications accusing Walmart’s suppliers in Bangladesh of using child labour. Walmart ceased business with the two factories immediately. filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. it is difficult to enforce its own corporate code of conduct with thousands of subcontractors around the world. Nowadays. The Report also contains a chart with the main violations found during the audits. Walmart caught using child labour in Bangladesh At the end of 2005. Walmart’s first general report which includes suppliers. The new lawsuit. Children aged 10-14 years old were found to be working in the factories for less than $50 a month making products of the Walmart brand for export to Canada. Referring to Walmart’s policy at that time consisting of cutting ties with suppliers when violations occurred. Walmart has been qualified as a ‘global legislator’ in CSR policies. which mainly focuses on quality standards for suppliers only. customers and associates.action lawsuits against the retailer at the state or regional level. the NGO Maquila Solidarity Network said that ‘cutting and running is the worst possible response to reports of child labour or other sweatshop abuses’.  Walmart’s CSR policies post-conflicts Walmart developed its first Code of Conduct (COC) ‘Standard for Suppliers’ in 1992.100 it also specifies non-discrimination on the basis of gender and other personal . The 2005 Report on Ethical Sourcing reported that Walmart had ceased to do business with 141 factories. was generated in 2006.

suppliers will hide abuses and workers will not tell the truth to auditors in order not to lose their jobs. the factory would receive a warning and had to change and correct in the follow-up audit. Walmart requires its suppliers who produce toys in China to sign up to the ICTI CARE Process. and selling products that sustain people and the environment. Walmart indicates every year its completed goals and the progress in the ones that have not yet been achieved. If more than two underage workers were found or the company did not make corrections. The board is aimed at providing equal and enhanced opportunities for all in top leadership roles. it has measurable targets on audits. In addition. At the beginning of 2005.246 employees in 2010. Walmart has a Gender Equality and Diversity gender policy that can be found in its ‘Global Responsibility Annual Report’. These policies have generated an increase in female officials and managers from 23. Planet. Although Walmart does not follow the GRI Guidelines. For instance.characteristics or beliefs. if two underage workers were found. It is important to highlight that gender discrimination was not given any special treatment in the 2005 COC or in the general report. . In 2009. If Walmart cuts business with these factories. Walmart has a strict corporate code of conduct in the industry but according to investigations Walmart is not able to enforce its code in developing countries. Walmart publishes a full and complete report on CSR issues called ‘Global Responsibility Report’ which covers the three dimensions of ‘People. If a single underage worker was found in a factory. Walmart has also committed itself to achieving three goals in its Sustainability Report: using 100% renewable energy. many workers could be laid off for lack of production. creating zero waste. These criteria are established and measured by Walmart at the end of the 2012 report. Currently. These validation audits ensure that the ICTI CARE process is properly implemented and that it meets Walmart’s Standards for Suppliers.873 employees in 2005 to 25. the factory was permanently banned from Walmart’s production. Walmart took the commitment one step further with the incorporation of the Advisory Board on Gender Equality and Diversity. This decision was based on NGO advice from the Bangladesh case mentioned in the above section. An example of quantifiable measures is creating a zero waste Walmart by eliminating landfill waste from US stores by 2025. Profit’. Walmart ceased business ipso facto. Walmart’s zero tolerance policy for underage workers was changed in 2005. The ICTI CARE Process was created by the international toy industry to achieve a safe and human working environment for toy factory workers worldwide. This report emphasizes gender equality and a diverse workforce. Walmart conducts internal validation audits by Walmart’s Ethical Sourcing team.