- Social Highlights
- Human Rights
- Retail Opportunity
- Product supply chains: Social sustainability
- Providing safer, healthier food & other products
Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, wanted his company to help people save money and live better. As a retailer, Walmart touches the lives of many — from our associates to the suppliers who provide the products and services we sell, to the customers and citizens in the communities where we operate.
We believe it is the responsibility of business to respect human rights, and we aspire to use our capabilities and influence to bring about positive change. Our approach to human rights is grounded in our culture and our values — Service to the Customer, Respect for the Individual, Strive for Excellence and Act with Integrity.
Human rights statement and salient issues
In November 2018, we published our first Human Rights Statement , which confirms our respect for human rights and articulates how our culture and values as well as international instruments, such as the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and the International Labor Organization’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, inform our approach to human rights. These instruments provide inspiration on approaches to issues such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, forced or compulsory labor, child labor, and our approach against discrimination and harassment in employment. In 2019, inspired by these instruments, we identified our salient human rights issues. More detail regarding our aspirations and initiatives is provided throughout this report.
Salient human rights issues
Treating workers with respect
Promoting a safe & healthy work environment
Providing a fair & inclusive work environment
Combating forced & underage labor
A cross-functional Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) supports Walmart teams in continuously advancing respect for human rights through our business. The working group includes representatives from functions such as Ethics & Compliance; Global People; Labor Relations; Responsible Sourcing; Culture, Diversity & Inclusion; Global Responsibility; Government Affairs; Communications; and Legal.
It reports to the ESG Steering Committee, which is a management committee comprised of leaders from various Walmart teams that reviews ESG issues and priorities at Walmart. The ESG team, as part of Global Responsibility, coordinates the HRWG. In addition, our Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs provides regular updates about our ESG initiatives to the Nominating and Governance Committee of Walmart’s Board of Directors.
We routinely engage with stakeholders to understand and benefit from their perspectives on human rights in retail and retail supply chains. For example, last year we met with several subject matter experts in the human rights field, including representatives from ICCR, the Institute for Human Rights and Business and Shift.
In addition, we participated in forums that address human rights issues. For example, Walmart leaders participated in the U.N. Business and Human Rights Conference and the Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights hosted by The Coca- Cola Company. Such forums offer an opportunity to learn more about what is expected of businesses with respect to human rights.
As part of our ongoing work on initiatives such as Retail Opportunity and Responsible Recruitment, our teams engage stakeholders with experience addressing salient human rights issues, for example, the Issara Institute and International Justice Mission.
This past year, we have shared our Statement and salient issues with our associates and suppliers, worked to systematize our approach to human rights and pursued a number of initiatives related to salient issues covered elsewhere in this report. Highlights include:
- Policies and disclosures analysis: We conduct a periodic analysis of the policies and disclosures relevant to our salient human rights issues. The analysis helps prioritize changes to policies and disclosures, provides direction for new programs and ultimately improves our impact on people.
- Retail opportunity analysis: We conduct reviews of the effectiveness of Walmart’s retail opportunity strategy, including Walmart U.S. human capital investments and the philanthropic Retail Opportunity program. These analyses suggest that the Walmart U.S. human capital strategy of access, stability and mobility has created value for associates. We recognize that upskilling and providing career paths for our associates may contribute to their long-term economic prosperity. We hope that our actions in this sphere have encouraged other employers and funders to invest in frontline retail workforce development.
- Pay equity: Fairness in pay is an important issue for our company. We are committed to creating a performance culture where associates are rewarded based on meaningful factors such as qualifications, experience, performance and the type of work they do. Our compensation plans and practices are designed to comply with applicable laws that require companies to pay their employees fairly and equitably. In the U.S., for example, relevant laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act, both of which require that men and women be given equal pay for equal work. Salary and wage ranges for our associates are based on objective factors, regardless of gender or race. We continually review our processes to make sure we are living up to our commitment to fair-pay practices.
- Integration of social and environmental sustainability teams: We transferred some associates working on special initiatives from the Responsible Sourcing teams into our Sustainability teams to strengthen our ability to pursue social as well as environmental initiatives in product supply chains. Responsible Sourcing teams remain focused on supplier compliance with Walmart’s Standards for Suppliers .
- Dignity of workers in supply chains: We collaborated with others to launch Nirapon and Life and Building Safety (LABS) and made progress in programs such as Responsible recruitment and Market access .
- Response to gun violence: We shared our response to the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Southaven, Mississippi, and updated our Firearms and Ammunition Guidelines .
Walmart employs multiple grievance mechanisms to solicit, assess and address the concerns of associates, customers, workers in the supply chain, people in communities where we operate and other stakeholders: anonymous hotlines; email and websites; direct engagement in small groups and surveys; a process we call “Open Door”; sentiment and content analysis of public social media postings; and assessment of facility audits. Additional information on these mechanisms is available in the Stakeholder engagement section of this report.
We believe it is the responsibility of business to respect human rights
We expect that in the coming year we will continue to:
- Foster strong relationships with human rights thought leaders and stakeholders to continuously improve our practices and disclosures and identify new issues as they emerge.
- Engage our associates and suppliers as well as customers and the communities in which we operate in additional dialogue to increase understanding of human rights concepts and relevant initiatives.
- Advance our initiatives and disclosures related to our salient human rights, such as our work in Retail Opportunity; Culture, Diversity and Inclusion; Responsible Sourcing; Responsible Recruitment; and Market Access.
The retail industry serves as an entry point to the job market for many people. Retail jobs help people learn and hone foundational skills, especially soft skills, that are relevant for any career.
As evolving customer demands and technology change the nature of work, retailers need to attract and retain the right talent, as well as continually develop the workforce to thrive in an ever-changing retail environment.
Walmart is committed to making retail a place of opportunity where people can acquire the skills and experiences they need to advance.
Our frontline workforce development strategy focuses on creating access to employment, providing job stability and building mobility for professional advancement.
We believe this approach can contribute to creating value for our business — such as helping to improve the customer experience and providing additional mechanisms toward lowering turnover — and for our associates by providing additional career path opportunities and training toward new skills for advancement.
Retail opportunity: Lessons learned over our five-year investment in our workforce
In 2015, Walmart U.S. launched Retail Opportunity, an initial five-year effort to strengthen jobs and advancement opportunities for frontline associates, which has included investments in Access (e.g., simplifying recruiting), Stability (e.g., enhancing wages, benefits, scheduling predictability and flexibility) and Mobility (e.g., new jobs and career paths, training, including Walmart Academy, and education benefits, including Live Better U).
Walmart’s human capital strategy has created value for our associates and our business
In parallel, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation launched the Retail Opportunity philanthropic program, committing more than $100 million in grants to strengthen the U.S. frontline workforce development system in retail and related sectors, with an emphasis on engaging employers and funders in innovative approaches to training and advancement.
We have also seen the critical role Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have played to help encourage other employers and funders to invest in frontline service sector worker upskilling.
Our analyses help clarify where our strategies deliver the most value and help surface improvement opportunities to consider as we seek to further strengthen our associate value proposition and continue to strengthen retail as a sector of opportunity for workers and communities. Key findings of our analyses and observations:
Positive business case for employer investment in frontline workforce development
While retail employers often focus human capital investments on developing managerial or specialized talent (e.g., merchants, marketers), our reviews have indicated correlations between Walmart’s frontline investments and business outcomes. For example, although we recognize that numerous factors contribute to these, Walmart has seen gains in business outcomes such as store sales and associate retention following our investments in scheduling enhancements, wages and training programs, such as the Walmart Academy. In addition, Walmart U.S. has had more than five consecutive years of positive comparable sales (from stores open for the previous 12 months as well as eCommerce sales), and turnover in our Walmart U.S. stores is down 15% — the lowest level in nearly five years.
Perceived value among frontline associates
We have also seen that Walmart’s human capital investments have created value for associates. In FY2020, more than 60% of U.S. hourly associates were full time (excluding Home Office associates). We increased our minimum hourly starting wage from $7.25 to $9.00 in 2015 and then to $11.00 in 2018 (and the average wage for U.S. hourly associates is more than $14.00 per hour),26 and more than 1.8 million associate trainings have been completed through Walmart Academy since 2016.
Entry-level jobs can be a springboard for upward mobility
Graduates of the Walmart Academy are more likely to be retained: 81% are retained for an additional year. As of year-end FY2020, we promoted more than 200,000 U.S. store associates to jobs with higher pay and more responsibility.25 More than 75% of our store operations management team members began as hourly associates.
Key success factors for effective training
To create mobility for associates and value for business, we believe job training should follow principles of adult learning and focus on skills relevant for current jobs and advancement. For example, and as noted above, our Walmart Academy modules, which employ a range of learning approaches and tailored content, can deliver strong business outcomes and positive associate impact.
Starting wage is one of several factors
While public discussion often centers on starting wage, we have found that wage increases relative to local market conditions (which vary widely, based on cost of living and tightness of local labor markets) matter. Furthermore, we have observed that total take-home compensation (which factors in benefits and number of hours worked), quality of the job (including nature of the job and relationships with peers/supervisors) and training for career advancement (e.g., Walmart Academy) also matter.
Creating a movement for frontline workforce development
While the company has invested in improving the Walmart frontline associate experience, since 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation contributed more than $130 million to programs that support frontline retail and adjacent sector employees gaining new skills and advancing their careers. Walmart has engaged other funders as well as employers, community colleges, workforce boards and others to make the case for frontline workforce development and to create more innovative, effective approaches to training and advancement. The Retail Opportunity Community of Practice, launched in 2015, has grown to over 50 member organizations and is now run independently by FSG as the Retail Opportunity Network.
Retail opportunity at Walmart
Walmart provides jobs for nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. and more than 2.2 million worldwide. We offer a wide variety of career opportunities, low barriers to entry, competitive wages, benefits, on-the-job coaching and training, and debt-free education. While our roles range from merchant to computer engineer, and from pharmacist to agronomist, more than 90% of our U.S. associates work in frontline roles operating our stores and clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, and fleet. The discussion below focuses on Walmart’s approach to human capital development of our frontline workforce, using Walmart U.S. as an example.
Access to employment
Entry-level jobs provide economic opportunity and paths to upward mobility, but sometimes people face barriers to employment. Walmart seeks to remove some of these obstacles. For example, we do not have arbitrary education requirements — even our store managers are not required to have a college degree — and we were one of the first retailers to “ban the box” that asks about prior criminal convictions on the initial job application. Such efforts allow us to broaden our talent pool and provide more people with the opportunity to secure gainful employment, get valuable experience and advance on the job.
We try to help associates maintain stability in their jobs so they are encouraged to stay with Walmart and grow their skills and knowledge. For example, in the U.S., we provide competitive pay and benefits, make scheduling predictable yet flexible, improve job design and use technology to make jobs more rewarding. We have also called on Congress to develop a thoughtful plan to increase the federal minimum wage.
Full-time & part-time jobs
More than 60% of our U.S. hourly associates - excluding Home Office associates - are in full-time jobs. These jobs range from entry-level, hourly roles to supervisory and specialized roles in pharmacy or grocery. Furthermore, 98% of our U.S. supply chain associates, which includes those who work in distribution and fulfillment centers, are full time. We also offer part-time roles, which help many associates supplement household income and build new skills while managing other interests and obligations.
In a store with several hundred associates, scheduling is a complex task. There are many different scheduling demands, both for operating the store and managing the personal needs of individual people. Parents, caregivers and students all have different pressures on their time.
Last year, we completed the roll out of a scheduling system that gives associates more predictable and flexible scheduling options. The system includes a new app called My Walmart Schedule that enables associates to plan and adjust their schedules as their needs change.
- Predictability: We provide Walmart associates with notice of at least two weeks regarding their schedules. Many associates want even more predictability, so we provide a scheduling option called core hours. Associates with core-hour schedules normally work the same weekly shifts for at least 13 weeks, enabling them to plan and prioritize important responsibilities outside of work.
- Flexibility: The My Walmart Schedule app allows associates to easily view schedules, swap shifts with colleagues and pick up unfilled shifts, giving associates the ability to design schedules that work for them. We also provide cross-training to associates so they are eligible to work in different jobs across the store, giving them even more access to available hours.
- Starting wages: While our starting wage in the U.S. varies by role and market, Walmart’s minimum starting wage is $11 per hour or more, depending on state and local laws. This starting wage is well above the U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
- Average wages in stores: Average wage for U.S. hourly associates is more than $14.00 per hour.26 Most key department manager roles can earn as much as $24.70 per hour (not including bonuses and other benefits). Average total compensation including benefits (such as quarterly cash bonuses, paid time off, associate discounts, health care benefits and 401(k) company match) for an hourly U.S. associate is more than $18.00 per hour.27
- Average wages in distribution and fulfillment centers: Average wage for associates who work in our U.S. supply chain, which includes distribution centers and fulfillment centers, is more than $20.00 per hour. Average total compensation including benefits for supply chain associates is more than $27.00 per hour, including wages, bonuses and benefits.
- Bonuses: In FY2020, hourly associates earned nearly $730 million in quarterly cash bonuses in our U.S. stores, clubs and supply chain.24
- Average compensation for store managers: On average, a Walmart U.S. store manager earns more than $180,000 per year.
- Financial planning tools: We provide all associates access to tools such as the Even app, which helps them budget for bills, savings and spending. When unexpected expenses occur, our associates can also access earned wages ahead of scheduled paychecks.
- Paid time off (PTO): Walmart’s U.S. PTO policy combines paid vacation, sick time, personal time and holiday time into one category. In addition to providing Regular PTO (which associates can take with supervisor approval), we rolled out Protected PTO nationally in February 2019. Protected PTO allows our hourly associates to earn up to 48 hours of paid time per year (more in some locations) that can be used anytime to cover scheduled shifts without attendance consequences when they are unexpectedly not able to make it to work.
- Expanded parental leave: Walmart provides U.S. salaried and full-time hourly associates with the same maternity and parental leave benefits.29 Birth parents can access up to ten weeks of paid time off and six weeks of paid parental leave. Parental leave applies to associates who become parents through birth, adoption or foster care placement. Birth moms can receive up to 16 weeks of total paid time away when maternity and parental leave are combined.
- Health care: Walmart aspires to be an employer of choice, offering associates better quality and a simpler experience at a lower cost. By being at the forefront of innovation, efficiency and effectiveness, we seek to set an example for other employers. We have created several first-in-the-nation programs to serve our associates.
» Affordable health coverage: Health coverage starts at around $29 per pay period for all full- and part-time associates who have worked an average of 30 hours per week over the past 12 months. This is nearly half the average premium employees at other companies pay nationally.30
» Centers of Excellence: For associates enrolled in Walmart health care plans, our Centers of Excellence program provides access to some of the best specialists and hospitals for serious medical issues like cancer, kidney transplants, hip and knee replacements, and spine surgery, often at zero cost.
» Grand Rounds: Our program offers second expert medical opinions to associates enrolled in Walmart health care plans and helps with finding a highly rated doctor to see in person. This program is free for associates.
» Doctor on Demand: For associates enrolled in Walmart health plans, Doctor on Demand allows affordable, nationwide, virtual access to health care providers for just $4 per use.
» Digital care: In a number of states, we are piloting enhancements, including digital care for chronic conditions with physicians assigned to associates, and one-stop digital support for all health needs, including finding quality providers, addressing billing issues and even concerns with access.
» Walton Life Fitness Pass: For as little as $9 per paycheck, a Walton Life Fitness Pass membership provides associates and their family members access to thousands of fitness centers nationwide.
» Counseling: All associates can take advantage of Resources for Living, a free, confidential counseling and health information service.
» 401(k): We offer 401(k) contributions and provide full- and part-time hourly U.S. associates a match of up to 6% after one year for those who are credited with 1,000 hours of service during their first year. Associates are eligible to contribute to their 401(k) on their first day of work.
» Employee Stock Purchase Plan: Associatescan participate in an associate stock purchase plan with company match. Walmart matches 15% of the first $1,800 U.S. associates contribute to their stock purchase program each year, up to $270 per plan year (age restrictions apply).
Centers of Excellence
Through our Centers of Excellence (CoE) program, we have partnered with world-class health centers across the U.S. such as Mayo Clinic, Geisinger Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic to provide treatments such as spine surgery, cancer evaluations, joint replacement and organ transplants.
For associates enrolled in Walmart’s health care plans, the Centers of Excellence program covers all costs, including travel, lodging and meals for the associate and a caregiver companion (except in the case of weight loss surgery), and (with a few other exceptions) there are no co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles.
This innovative program was featured in a Harvard Business Review case study last year.
The results of the CoE program are clear: based on analysis conducted in partnership with Geisinger Neuroscience Institute and Health Design Plus, Walmart associates who use the CoE program realize better outcomes than those that do not. For example, many CoE patients were able to pursue alternatives to spine surgery and joint replacements based on CoE assessment and care. Of those who did undergo surgery, re-admission rates were dramatically lower than non-CoE treatments. Recovery times were also shorter. More than 95% of Walmart plan members say they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their treatment.
CoE-realized outcomes are far superior
As technology continues to raise consumer expectations and transform the retail industry, Walmart needs an associate base with strong and diverse capabilities. At the same time, to thrive in their current jobs and advance in their careers, Walmart associates need to continuously learn and develop. Approximately 79% of our Walmart U.S. store operations management team members started as hourly employees
More than 75% of our Walmart U.S. store operations management team members started as hourly employees
To help associates acquire the experiences and skills needed for success in the jobs of today and tomorrow, Walmart has invested in associate development — including new roles and career paths, cross-training, on-the-job coaching and training such as Walmart Academy, and access to education programs such as high school completion, college preparation and debt-free college degrees costing associates only $1 a day. We also work with certain education providers to confer college credit for Walmart Academy training programs, which streamlines the process of getting a degree. Walmart fosters a culture that empowers associates to manage change, learn relevant job skills and be responsive and flexible.
Such opportunities are designed to help our associates to develop the knowledge and skills needed to advance within our company. In FY2020, we promoted more than 200,000 people to jobs of greater responsibility and higher pay in Walmart U.S.25 More than 75% of our Walmart U.S. store operations management team members started as hourly employees, and Walmart store managers earn an average of $180,000 per year in the U.S.
Walmart U.S. offers two structured training programs for associates at Walmart U.S. stores: Pathways and the Walmart Academy. Associates are paid for their time spent in training. Academy teams create value through innovative learning experiences, including blending classroom education with sales floor applications.
Building foundational skills through Pathways
Our Pathways training program is designed to help associates gain vital retail job skills, including customer service, merchandising, teamwork and communication. The program lets associates learn at their own pace via computers and connects associates with mentoring opportunities from supervisors who provide feedback on their job performance and highlight potential career opportunities.
Building advanced skills through the Walmart Academy
The Walmart Academy offers hands-on, immersive learning that combines technology, classroom training and ongoing coaching on the sales floor. Using cutting-edge handheld devices and virtual reality, the program is structured to prepare associates for jobs as frontline hourly supervisors, department managers and assistant managers.
There are more than 200 Walmart Academy locations in the U.S., many of which are within an hour’s drive of a Walmart store. Each Academy serves approximately 23 nearby stores. In addition, we are bringing the Academy’s training directly into our stores to provide on-the-job coaching. In FY2020 alone, we completed more than 1.1 million associate trainings through Walmart Academy. Associates can receive college credit for their training at Walmart Academy. By the of 2019, associates had already earned college credits worth more than $2 million.
Live Better U
Launched in June 2018, the Live Better U program brings Walmart’s suite of education benefits together to make it easier for associates to access and navigate them.
In partnership with Guild Education, Walmart associates can earn their high school diploma at no cost to them. They can also earn an advanced certificate or college degree for $1 a day (after financial aid, Walmart pays the remaining cost). By offering such affordable programs, Live Better U helps remove a barrier faced by many people in traditional tuition reimbursement programs.
Available programs include associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and certificates from eight education partners that were chosen based on the experience and completion rates of adult working learners. Last year, Live Better U added health care degree options, which can help associates qualify for opportunities in the growing health care field as well as support Walmart’s evolving Health & Wellness strategy.
By the end of FY2020, more than 12,000 Walmart associates enrolled in Live Better U, and since the program’s inception in June 2018, some have already earned an associate or bachelor’s degree in an in-demand field. At the end of 2019, our associates had completed 88,000 college credits worth more than an estimated $42 million.
Learn more at Live Better U .
The future of work
Per a 2017 McKinsey & Company publication, research indicated that six in ten current occupations have more than 30% of activities that are technically automatable.
For the past several years, Walmart has been deploying technology to enhance jobs in ways we hope will better serve our associates and our customers.
- Improving jobs: We are automating tedious tasks, such as unloading trucks and polishing floors, and evolving roles so that associates can spend more of their time doing work that they find more meaningful, such as serving customers. Engaging associates in more value-added work should make our business more efficient and create a better experience for customers.
- Creating new jobs: To meet changing customer needs, technology has also allowed us to create new jobs such as personal shoppers for Online Grocery Pickup. Over the last two years we have placed more than 50,000 associates in roles supporting our in-store eCommerce fulfillment.
While we do not yet know how the total number of jobs at Walmart will be affected by evolving customer demands and technologies, we believe job requirements will continue to change. We plan to manage this transition through investments in training and mobility, to set our associates up for success at Walmart and beyond.
Because associates are the core of our business, we encourage and expect all associates to participate in making the company a better place to work and shop. We seek to create a collaborative environment where people feel free to express opinions and feel their ideas and concerns are heard. To that end, we gather and respond to associates’ feedback in a variety of ways, including in the U.S.:
- Personal, one-on-one interactions, including daily store huddles
- Team meetings
- Leadership communications
- OneWalmart (the company intranet) Facebook Workplace and other social media channels
- Email and other digital channels
Senior operations executives also conduct formal listening tours twice a year with associates across the U.S. Additional annual gatherings for associates typically include the Year Beginning Meeting, Holiday Meeting and Shareholders’ Associate Week, an event attended by thousands of associates and stakeholders (many of these events have been held virtually in CY2020). Our U.S. CEO also holds quarterly town hall meetings with associates and weekly operations feedback calls with store managers. During these sessions, action items are assigned to field and home office associates, including officers, who are responsible for addressing each item.
Associate suggestions in such sessions have led to meaningful improvements in company policies. For example, last year Walmart unveiled a revamped attendance policy based directly on feedback from associates who wanted more flexibility to handle unexpected personal situations, while also being rewarded for consistently showing up to work and serving our customers.
At the end of 2019, our associates had completed 88,000 college credits worth more than an estimated $42 million
Our Open Door process is another resource that allows any associate — from entry level to the C-suite — to share ideas and raise an issue in good faith with leaders above and beyond their own supervisors at any time without fear of reprisal. Our Open Door philosophy is an integral part of our culture, reflecting a tradition of open communication and listening to our associates.
Additional information on our Open Door policy, including our stance against retaliation for concerns raised in good faith, as well as guidance for our associates on when and how to use our resources for sharing input, can be found in our
Statement of Ethics
In addition to the communication avenues described previously, associates have access to a variety of confidential resources to report a concern or grievance. Walmart strictly forbids retaliation against any associate who reports a concern in good faith. Reports can be made anonymously and will be treated as confidential.
To ask a question or report an ethics violation, associates can contact Walmart Global Ethics at WalmartEthics.com , via email at email@example.com or 1-800-WM-ETHIC in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. Our Statement of Ethics outlines resources available globally.
Learn more on our
Ethics and Compliance website
Philanthropy: Retail opportunity across the sector
Our work to promote economic opportunity extends beyond our company. In 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation launched the Retail Opportunity Initiative, a philanthropic effort to accelerate retail and related sector employee advancement.
Through the end of FY2020, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have invested more than $130 million in organizations working to accelerate retail and related sector employee advancement. The initiative includes:
- Generating and sharing insights into retail as a sector of opportunity
- Engaging employers, training providers and others to share best practices and improve worker training and advancement in local workforce ecosystems
Learn more about our Retail Opportunity Initiative at Walmart.org .
Freedom of association
One of our enduring core values since Sam Walton founded the company is Respect for the Individual.
Consistent with applicable law and practice, Walmart respects the rights of associates to form, to join or not to join an employee association or trade union of their choice without interference. Associates should exercise these rights in an informed manner, and with the benefit of thoughtful consideration and available information. In the exercise of these rights, we believe in the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information, provided there is no interference.
We seek an inclusive culture where all associates and customers feel like they belong and are empowered to be themselves
Manager and associate trainings include information on labor rights, including associates’ and Walmart’s responsibilities regarding freedom of association. Walmart aims to comply with all applicable laws and practices, and we provide resources for Walmart associates with questions regarding these laws. We encourage any associate with questions on labor rights to contact Walmart Ethics. For more information on associate training, please see the Training section of this report.
Globally, Walmart has associates who are represented by some form of third-party representation in more than half of the 27 countries where we operate.
Our people and culture equip us to serve the growing diversity of the more than 265 million customers who shop in our stores or online each week.
We seek an inclusive culture where all associates and customers feel like they belong and are empowered to be themselves. To foster diversity and inclusion within Walmart, we believe in setting a foundation for sustainable change across the enterprise. One way we do this is by integrating culture, diversity and inclusion principles throughout the associate life cycle — recruit, hire, develop, promote and retire. Four principles guide our approach:
- Objectivity: Minimize subjectivity to reduce the risk of bias in talent processes
- Transparency: Increase access to information through communication and collaboration
- Data-driven decisions: Collect and analyze data, and generate verifiable insights to make better decisions
- Accountability: Promote action through ownership and acceptance of responsibility for inclusive behaviors
According to our annual Associate Engagement Survey, of those that took the survey, 71% of our U.S. associates (excluding Home Office associates) agreed with the statement “I feel I am part of a team.”
Culture, Diversity & Inclusion
The Culture, Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) scorecard, introduced in 2016, provides senior Walmart leadership with reoccurring updates on representation and movement (hires, promotions, turnover) of women and people of color at the officer level. A report is provided monthly to the President and CEO and quarterly to the Compensation, Management and Development Committee (CMDC) of the Board of Directors of Walmart Inc. Building on the scorecard, our CDI dashboards equip senior leaders with data and insights about the diversity within their business units. Leaders receive training on how to use the dashboard to create action plans for their teams.
Please see the Board of Directors section of this report for information on board diversity.
Fairness in pay is important for our company. We are committed to creating a performance culture where associates are rewarded based on meaningful factors such as qualifications, experience, performance and the type of work they do.
Our compensation plans and practices are designed to comply with applicable laws that require companies to pay their employees fairly and equitably. In the U.S., for example, relevant laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act, both of which require that men and women be given equal pay for equal work. Salary and wage ranges for our associates are based on objective factors, regardless of gender or race. We continually review our processes to make sure we are living up to our commitment to fair-pay practices.
100 score on the Disability Equality Index
100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index
Bloomberg 2020 Gender-Equality Index
Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility Corporate Inclusion Index — 5-Star in Governance and Procurement
Diversity Inc’s 2019 Top 50 Companies
For more information, please see our Culture Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) report .
Providing safer, healthier food & other products
Walmart aims to provide access to safe, high-quality food to millions of customers worldwide. We maintain a Global Food Safety Compliance team comprised of experienced food safety professionals who are responsible for overseeing a comprehensive Food Safety program and ensuring adherence to our Global Food Safety Policy .
We assess compliance with Walmart food safety standards, processes, conditions and expected behaviors through regular, independent third-party food safety audits of our stores and clubs that prepare fresh food. We conduct these risk-based audits to verify that our stores are operating safely and in compliance with laws and regulations. In FY2020, we conducted more than 138,000 independent food safety audits at our stores and clubs globally. We believe in continuous improvement and are always seeking better ways to mitigate risk and challenge the status quo.
We have been a long-time supporter of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) , which is an important part of our efforts to promote food safety among suppliers; we remain committed to this effort. It enables us to take a global, unified approach. As a member of the GFSI Board and advisory group, Walmart focuses on supporting the need for science-based, quality audits and growing the global pool of high-quality auditors.
We require medium and large private brand suppliers, Walmart-owned manufacturing facilities and select categories of national brand suppliers to work toward certification against one of the GFSI benchmarked standards. Small and developing private brand suppliers are required to be assessed against the GFSI Global Markets program or equivalent. We have recognized that in some markets there are a number of small and developing suppliers who need additional help to meet Walmart’s requirements of achieving full certification against a GFSI benchmarked standard.
Beyond certification and audits, we embrace innovation and technology such as blockchain to improve transparency and traceability of food to deliver a better shopping experience while limiting the scope of outbreaks and recalls. Blockchain technology can enable greater accountability, improved safety and more sustainable practices by providing greater visibility into supply chains. We established a blockchain platform in the U.S. to help trace foods in our supply chain, and a majority of our fresh leafy greens suppliers have onboarded to a blockchain platform. The success of that rollout encouraged us to communicate the same expectation of using a blockchain platform to our green bell pepper suppliers. In 2020, we are focused on expanding our blockchain technology to additional food commodities.
In China, Walmart created the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center (WFSCC) in 2016 to bring together stakeholders across industry, government, academia and trade associations to address the root causes of foodborne illness. The center focuses on three aspects of the food safety system: innovation, education and policy support.
This center’s work is also supported by philanthropic investments from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. In 2016, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced a plan to invest $25 million in funding over five years to support research projects in applied science, education and communications that enhance Chinese food safety. Since 2016, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have spent more than $22.5 million to meet this goal.
For more information on our food-safety-related initiatives and work in China, please visit walmartfoodsafetychina.com .
Competition spurs innovation in food safety
The Walmart Food Safety Innovation Pipeline competition organized by the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center brings together different key actors from across the value chain to identify critical food safety issues and challenge fresh thinking on solutions. The Innovation Pipeline ultimately aims to fast track the most promising solutions by testing them in the real-world supply chains of Walmart and our partners. This year’s competition drew more than 60 applicants from across Asia, the Middle East and North America.
Throughout the four-month competition, select applicants received tailored advice from global business leaders on the Innovation Pipeline’s governing Innovation Council to improve their prospects for pilot and investment opportunities. During the final November 2019 pitch session, Walmart U.S., Walmart China, New Hope Liuhe, Want Want Group, Sustenture/Pacific Insights and Jiangmen selected eight different finalists for exclusive discussions on proof of concept and other business opportunities.
Food access & nutrition
Access to safe, healthier and affordable food is foundational for good health in communities.
With more than 11,500 stores around the world, we provide access to low-cost, nutritious food for millions of people. Through our online grocery pick-up and delivery offerings, we’re able to reach large numbers of people with our omni-channel approach.
For over a decade, we have also made significant strides in improving food access for those in need through food donations and by strengthening the charitable meal system, particularly in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In FY2020, Walmart stores, clubs and distribution centers in the U.S. donated more than 585 million pounds of food, 65% of which was fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats.
Our food donations are complemented by additional philanthropic investments that increase access to nutritious food. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation support organizations that are working to develop innovative, evidence-based programs like fresh mobile markets, e-pantry mobile applications, produce prescription programs and partnerships between public health, childcare and food researchers that develop meal kits for underserved populations.
Enabling healthier choices
Walmart enables our customers to make healthier choices by offering nutritious food at affordable prices and an expanded assortment of fresh food, especially produce, organics and Great Value products. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation also fund programs to teach children and families how to make healthier choices and build people’s confidence in selecting, preparing and serving healthy meals. Since FY2015, nutrition education programs funded by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have reached 4 million people.
Walmart also helps customers identify nutritious food options with the Great for You icon, which is now carried by more than 8% of qualifying items, including fresh produce and the Great Value and Marketside private brands. The icon identifies products that meet nutritional criteria informed by the latest guidance from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine. We worked with private and public sector experts, as well as leading health organizations, to develop the initiative. For more information, please visit the Great for You section of our website.
Beyond food safety and access to healthier food, we often get questions about our organic options, alternate protein offerings, antibiotic use and animal welfare.
- Organic food: In FY2020, we started to revamp produce areas to make organic food easier to find and to better highlight fresh produce prices to emphasize affordability.
- Alternative protein: Recognizing that some consumers seek plant-based alternatives to traditional animal protein products such as dairy and meat, we also offer a variety of alternative products. For example, we have a Plant-based section on Walmart.com for those customers looking for breakfast foods, snacks and other items.
- Antibiotic use in farm animals: As described in our Antibiotics in Farm Animals Position , we have asked suppliers to implement principles of judicious use, including using antibiotics only for medical purposes and not to promote growth.
- Animalwelfare:Farmanimalsinoursupplychainshouldbe treated humanely throughout their lives and their welfare should be considered in selecting production systems, practices and technologies, including addressing housing systems such as gestation crates. We expect that our suppliers will not tolerate animal abuse, and we support the globally recognized “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare.
We are committed to providing our customers and members with access to safe and affordable merchandise. We require our suppliers to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and company-specific requirements for all items offered for sale at Walmart.
These laws and regulations help us ensure that products we sell meet applicable design, manufacturing and safety standards to help reduce the risk of harm to customers. Our Product Safety Compliance team has implemented product-safety-related processes and procedures, which include:
- Monitoring laws, regulations and standards
- Creating and communicating product requirements
- Assessing supplier and product performance
- Product testing, verification and monitoring
- Managing incident reports, product removals and regulatory reporting
In 2019, the U.S. Product Safety Compliance team partnered with federal regulators to promote safety awareness in campaigns including: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “ Where’s Baby? ” campaign to prevent hot car heatstroke deathsThe Consumer Product Safety Commission’s “Pool Safely” campaign to prevent child drowningsThe Consumer Product Safety Commission’s "Portable Generator" campaign to prevent portable-generator-related carbon monoxide deaths
Our U.S. Product Quality and Compliance Manual contains full details on our product safety-related processes and procedures. More information on how we manage product safety, including our Global Product Safety Policy , can be found on our Product Safety website .
Our customers and members seek products that are safe, effective, affordable and sustainable.
Walmart’s Sustainable Chemistry Commitment encourages suppliers to incorporate Sustainable Chemistry principles into the development of their products that we sell. We ask suppliers to accelerate product reformulation, certify products using credible accreditations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program, and improve transparency into ingredients and formulations. We also disclose our progress to the Chemical Footprint Project , which has recognized Walmart as a CFP 2019 Disclosure Leader .
As part of our commitment, in 2017, we became the first U.S. retailer to announce a time-bound chemical reduction goal: by 2022, we aim to reduce our footprint32 of “priority chemicals” in formulated consumables by 10% compared to our 2017 baseline of 215.9 million pounds.33 Walmart references regulatory and authoritative lists to determine priority chemicals.34 In 2018, there were 125,000 formulated consumable items in scope sold by Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. in the following categories: personal care, beauty, baby, pet and household cleaning products.
To track and disclose progress toward our reduction goals, Walmart asks suppliers to share their formulations for each in‐scope Universal Product Code (UPC) with UL WERCSmart. In 2018, suppliers provided product formulations to UL WERCSmart for 85% of in‐scope UPCs; 66% of total in‐scope UPCs contained priority chemicals. UL WERCSmart aggregates the information and calculates Walmart’s chemical footprint.
In 2018, based on supplier reports collected through UL WERCSmart, our priority chemical footprint (weight in lbs) increased by 1% over 2017,35 while the weight of priority chemicals as a proportion of total product formulation weight declined by 5 basis points.
Walmart has taken an important step to scale the positive impact of their Sustainable Chemistry Commitment by encouraging their top suppliers to join them in setting chemical reduction goals
To accelerate progress toward our goal of 10% reduction in priority chemicals by 2022, we have been working with experts and our suppliers to share best practices and encourage innovation. Examples include:
- Collaborating with the Environmental Defense Fund to share information and best practices with our suppliers to help them develop their chemical footprint goals.
- Hosting a workshop in September 2019 for Walmart and Sam’s Club national and private brand consumables suppliers in the U.S. Guest presenters shared examples of best practices, and suppliers were encouraged to set chemical footprint reduction goals and measure their progress against those goals. Presenters included the Environmental Defense Fund, the Chemical Footprint Project, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, certifying organizations such as Cradle to Cradle Certified and EWG Verified, and suppliers that have achieved preferred certifications for some of their products.
A note about methodology
As the first U.S. retailer to announce a time-bound chemical reduction goal, we’re continually learning and refining our process, assumptions and approach.
Learn about our current methodology in the Sustainable Chemistry Implementation Guide .
Health & wellness
In the U.S., Walmart is committed to making health care more affordable and accessible for our associates, customers and members. According to a CBS News poll , two-thirds of Americans are very concerned with keeping health care costs down and report that affording basic medical care is a hardship. More than one-third say they have gone without medical treatment because of the costs. Our goal is to transform the cost and convenience of essential health care and improve the well-being of all communities.
In September 2019 and January 2020, we launched two Walmart Health centers in Georgia adjacent to our Supercenters to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care. The centers offer primary care, labs, x-ray, diagnostics, counseling, dental, optical and hearing services, and community health offerings — all in one facility. Partnering with quality providers to deliver these services, the state-of- the-art centers have transparent, affordable pricing for services, including annual checkups, lab tests and teeth cleaning, regardless of insurance status. Customers have responded enthusiastically, with some days having more than 100 patient visits.
In 2019, more than 101,000 patients visited our 19 Walmart Care Clinics , which offer services such as lab tests, immunizations, and illness and injury care in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.
In an effort to make health care more affordable for its members, Sam’s Club launched a pilot in three U.S. states in 2019 called the Sam’s Club Care Accelerator Together with Humana . Leveraging relationships with 98point6, Humana and Quest Diagnostics, the Care Accelerator program offers members four health care bundles ranging in price from $50 to $240 per year.
Beyond our own care services, we enhanced the Health Care Begins Here program to help customers in the U.S. enroll in health insurance plans. The program provides health insurance education and enrollment services in stores, online and via call centers during annual enrollment periods for Medicare and Affordable Care Act plans.
At Walmart, our mission is to help people “live better,” and this means helping to fight the opioid crisis facing our country. As part of our commitment, in early 2017, we established the
Walmart Opioid Stewardship Initiative
to identify concrete, high-impact actions to help fight the opioid epidemic in three core areas: stewardship, education and advocacy.
Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club have adopted policies and practices to help safeguard our patients, such as a policy that restricts dispensing of an initial opioid prescription for an acute condition (one expected to heal fairly quickly) to seven days — informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines — subject to certain limited exceptions. This limit helps reduce the number of pills dispensed, which can help reduce the likelihood that the patient will become dependent upon opioids and reduces the volume of opioids that could be diverted for inappropriate uses by someone other than the patient, while not preventing those who have chronic, long-term conditions, or are suffering from diseases such as cancer, from receiving the medications they need.
Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club pharmacists participate in opioid-related training programs and use their knowledge to educate patients on the risks of opioid use and to dispense the overdose medication, Naloxone, upon request for patients who may be at risk for overdose where allowed by state law. Certain patients can be at risk of overdose even when using an opioid for a legitimate medical purpose. We also offer a free, at-home opioid disposal product to patients.
Walmart believes that youth education is an important part of the fight against prescription drug abuse. In 2018, Walmart joined the Prescription Drug Safety Network, powered by education technology company EVERFI, to bring a powerful prevention education tool to teens in high schools across Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, and beginning in 2019, Oklahoma. During the 2018-19 academic year, the EVERFI program sponsored by Walmart reached more than 300 schools and more than 25,000 students.
We also partnered with the Mark Wahlberg Foundation and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Community 360 Initiative to sponsor the Wahlberg Foundation’s National Youth Summits on opioid awareness. This program targets middle school students to raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and is reaching more than 20,000 students.
Walmart is committed to helping address opioid abuse and misuse in our communities. For 20more information on how Walmart is working to combat the opioid crisis, please see our Opioid Stewardship website .
Strengthening communities creates value for business and for society. When communities thrive, so do our stores.
For decades, local Walmart stores have provided customers with affordable products and services, associates with jobs and career paths, and state and local governments with millions of tax dollars. These benefits are complemented by our local engagement through associate volunteerism, local grant programs, community cohesion initiatives and disaster support.
We empower our stores, clubs and distribution centers to give back in their local communities in a variety of ways. In FY2020, our stores, clubs and distribution centers in the U.S. provided more than $65 million in local cash grants to organizations and programs that serve their communities.
Our associates are passionate about many causes, and for years we’ve supported them by donating to nonprofits in honor of their volunteer hours through Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP). In FY2020 in the U.S., more than 56,000 associates volunteered 630,000 hours, which generated more than $5.9 million in Walmart donations.
For many communities, the space outside our stores is a place where people support causes like the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign or local school booster clubs. A store manager’s ability to provide a space to support local organizations and charities adds value to both the business and the community.
We also look for ways to modernize tools and resources that facilitate associate, store and community engagement. For example, last year we supported El Paso Giving Day and El Paso Giving Time to provide donations in honor of time and money contributed by that community.
Because Walmart has a home in thousands of places around the world, we’ve seen firsthand that a more diverse, inclusive community is a stronger, more resilient community. Communities work best when everyone can thrive and have a sense of belonging.
One of the main ways we help communities is through career opportunities. Walmart jobs have low barriers to entry, offer competitive wages and provide benefits, paths to advancement and on-the- job coaching, training and education. Read more in the Retail opportunity section of this report.
To foster a sense of belonging, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation work with organizations like Welcoming America to engage local nonprofits, government and civic leaders to create and adopt welcoming practices in their communities. For example, in September 2019, a Welcoming America pilot funded by the Walmart Foundation and hosted by the YMCA and Idaho Office of Refugees brought people from all backgrounds together to participate in a family field day. More than 300 people spent the afternoon playing games, talking and eating together. Due to the success of the pilots, Welcoming America plans to continue to work with communities and help accelerate their work in creating places of inclusion and belonging.
Serving in times of disaster & crisis
Through Walmart’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Walmart’s planning and operational practices, we identify, assess, triage and respond to natural disasters, including public health issues, and security events that affect Walmart operations, associates and the communities we serve. The EOC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week to identify emerging risks, help facilities and associates prepare for disasters, monitor the development of crises, and serve as a triage point for emergencies in our retail facilities, supply chain facilities and offices around the world.
The EOC activates cross-functional subject matter teams throughout our business to prepare for and respond to disasters quickly and effectively. The EOC core team includes experts in emergency management who regularly train associates across the enterprise. We use data and predictive analytics to identify and assess weather and environmental risks. This data aids in disaster preparedness and helps maintain or quickly restore operations. In major disasters, we can deploy associates and an array of internal resources, including mobile generators, fuel resources and trucks that can help manage our corporate response to the crises on the ground.
Through the EOC’s efforts to coordinate with local, state and federal governmental agencies, as well as nonprofits and volunteer organizations around the world, Walmart determines how we can help support local communities in the face of disaster.
In the summer of 2019, Walmart experienced two significant incidences of gun violence in our stores: one in a Walmart store in Southaven, Mississippi, where two associates lost their lives, and one in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman took the lives of 23 people. The shootings changed these communities and our company forever. The heinous acts set in motion several changes to Walmart’s gun policy and gun and ammunition merchandise offerings. Please see the Governance section of this report for more on our response.
Philanthropy: Disaster response
Since FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $58 million in cash and in-kind donations to support disaster preparedness and relief efforts.
Learn more about how Walmart gives back in communities around the world at Walmart.org .