Walmart: Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance

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Walmart is the world’s leading low-cost retailer. Walmart stores sell everything from makeup to groceries to oil changes and the company prides itself on providing these goods and services at the lowest cost to the consumer. The world of discount retailers is one of the most challenging industries available but Walmart’s forward-focused thinking on innovation, supply chain management, and e-commerce solutions reshapes the retail landscape daily.

Walmart’s mission and advertising slogan are identical: “We save people money so they can live better” (walmart.com, 2013). In addition to providing low-cost solutions for everyday needs, Walmart takes a strong stand on social responsibility with a corporate focus on hunger relief and nutrition, supporting sustainable farming practices in both urban and rural settings, and women’s empowerment (walmart.com, 2013). Walmart’s internal culture focuses on the customer experience. Walmart has the “10-foot” rule where any customer within 10 feet of an employee receives a greeting from the employee (walmart.com, 2013). Walmart also considers the employees to be the best source of new ideas and encourages solutions from the front line.

Strong corporate governance is another pillar of the Walmart standard and provides a focus for the company’s strategic growth. Beginning in 2014, Walmart will tie the compensation of top-level management to compliance with corporate governance (Walmart 2013 Annual Report, p. 12). Walmart’s board of directors includes notable names like Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo and Anne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott (Walmart, p.13). On the board, 12 of the 17 members are outside directors and the board separates the Chairman of the Board position from the CEO of Walmart (Walmart, p.12). Overall, Walmart’s commitment to providing low-cost goods and services and its platform of social responsibility and strong corporate governance, ensure positive returns for investors for years to come.

References

Walmart.com. (2013). Retrieved from http://corporate.walmart.com/?povid=P1171-C1093.2766-L5

Walmart 2013 Annual Report. (2013). Retrieved from http://az204679.vo.msecnd.net/media/documents/2013-annual-report_130108806067963477.pdf