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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has released its eighth annual Global Responsibility Report, which outlines the mega-retailer's social and environmental work over the past year.
Particular areas of focus noted in the report were creating economic opportunity for associates and other retail industry employees; improving the sustainability of the company's operations and product supply chain; and bolstering communities in which the chain operates.
"As the world’s largest retailer, we have committed to use our strengths to help others, by addressing social and environmental issues in collaboration with customers, suppliers, governments, nonprofits and other stakeholders," noted Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and SVP of corporate affairs at Walmart. "We believe business exists to serve society. Our commitment to global responsibility goes beyond philanthropy – it is a whole company undertaking that is woven into our day-to-day business activities, creating value for business and society."
Among the achievements cited in the report:
- Earlier this year, Walmart revealed a $1 billion investment in higher wages, job training and scheduling enhancements for hourly workers, as well as a $100 million commitment to facilitate the mobility of the 15 million retail employees in the United States.
- Since the advent of their Women's Economic Empowerment initiative in 2011, the Walmart Foundation and Walmart international have given $110 million in grants and donations to that cause, surpassing their goal two years ahead of schedule.
- After wrapping up an initial $2 billion investment in hunger relief one year early in 2014, Walmart has continued to help ensure access to affordable, nutritious and sustainably grown food. Since 2010, the company has contributed 1.1 billion meals to the needy, with a goal of 4 billion by 2020.
Further, during fiscal year 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $1.47 billion in cash and in-kind contributions to further its commitments to opportunity, sustainability and community.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates 11,462 stores under 72 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.