Wal-Mart: The Future is Sustainability
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is one of the top companies in the retail industry. According to Forbes (2010), in 1962 brothers Sam and Bud Walton ran handful of small 5-and-10 stores in Arkansas and Missouri and they built their first Wal-Mart discount store in 1962. Then on Halloween day 1969 Wal-Mart Corporate (n.d.) states that the company incorporated. Since those early days when the founder Sam Walton was running the company many things have changed. For instance Ferrell, Fraedrich, and Ferrell (2011) stated that due to the staunch work ethic and dedication to customer care that Sam Walton instilled in the company, the company did feel that there ...view middle of the document...
” Since the question is only asking if they are doing enough to become “more” sustainable, I would absolutely have to yes they are.
2. What are the problems that Wal-Mart has faced, and what has the company done to address them?
Some of the problems that Wal-Mart has faced are employee wages and benefits, their nonunion position, illegal immigrant and sweatshop allegations, and even problems within their leadership like the Thomas Coughlin scandal. The list can probably go on for days, however they can all be tied to the one thing we are here to learn, business ethics.
Wal-Mart has made some significant changes in order to address many of their problems. For instance according to Ferrell et al. (2011), in 2003 Wal-Mart hired an anti-sweatshop expert to help them in fight against international sweatshop labor (p. 319). Wal-Mart also signed a memorandum with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions which allowed unions in their stores (p. 318). They have even taken measures to reduce waste and carbon emission which has not only help the company save money but it has shown the public that Wal-Mart is on board with green initiatives.
3. Why has Wal-Mart tended to improve performance when other retail outlets have been suffering financially?
I think that one of the biggest factors in Wal-Mart’s improved performance while other retailers are suffering financially is Wal-Mart’s everyday low prices strategy along with the position they take about their customers. I thought Ferrell et al. (2011) gave us a good example of what Wal-Mart thinks about their customers with the quote, “Wal-Mart claims a commitment to improving the standard of living for customers worldwide” (p. 323). They even proved that they can back that statement up with programs like free filing and tax service for low-income consumers where they partnered up with the Unite Way and One Economy Corporation to make that happen. I also think they reaped some of the benefits from the green initiatives. Not only have they earned some good press and some favoritism from the green minded public but they have also racked up over $30 million a year in savings from their green initiatives with their trucks and in store ceiling fans with compact fluorescent bulbs.
According to Wal-Mart (2010) the Company’s Global Sustainability Report, 2010 Progress Update, states that Wal-Mart is continuing their work to create meaningful and positive change throughout the global supply chain. The report goes on to say the since 2005 Wal-Mart has achieve a 60% increase in their United States fleet efficiency and in 2009 they were able to reduce their plastic bag waste by about 66.5 million pounds globally, or approximately 4.8 billion bags which calculated out to be a 16.1% reduction from their 2007 numbers (p.2). Wal-Mart is also continuing the efforts to reduce the carbon footprint produced from their operating locations. The Sustainability Report also claimed that in 2009 Wal-Mart opened...