Ethical Issues Affecticg Walmart and The Response


Assess how Walmart is managing ethics and social responsibility as one of the largest corporations in the world

Walmart has for a prolonged period been under tight scrutiny on matters pertaining to ethics and social responsibility. As one of the largest corporations in across the globe, the company has undertaken a raft of measures all aimed at improving its ethical standing and adherence to the social responsibility. First, the company has taken the lead role calling for sustainability measures in an effort to conserve energy, reduce the amount of wastage, and cut down disposal of non-biodegradable products into the environment. Through its sustainability index, the company has effectively embraced the use of energy serving commodities among which include the LED lights or natural light. It has also embraced recycling of its packing materials as well as minimize the use of plastic non-biodegradable products in packaging. As far as the social responsibility is concerned, the company has taken a lead role in encouraging its suppliers to equally embrace the sustainability plan. It has also engaged in several charitable events and donated in disaster management initiatives. Walmart further acknowledges the importance of strong ethical standing to the well-being of the business. Consequently, the management has effectively outlined the code of conducts for its employees and even fired/open a legal suit against any of its worker, including CEO, who engages in unethical conducts such as bribery. In relation to hourly wage rate, the company has taken a step in the positive direction by raising is minimum wage rate to at least $10 per hour (Isidore, Chris).

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Evaluate various ethical issues Walmart has faced and how the company responded to stakeholders

There are several ethical issues that come into inter-play in as far as the operations and activities of Walmart are concerned. For instance, as the largest single retailer in both the U.S. and the world, Walmart has been accused of leveraging on its economies of scale to drive out smaller competing businesses from places it situates additional stores. This is an unethical concern affecting the direct competitors of Walmart. The presence of Walmart in an area has also been the reason for the lower wages in that particular location. As other business try to match up with the low prices of commodities sold by Walmart, they are forced to bring down the wages of their workers so as to bring about some balance. In addition, Walmart has been accused of exerting too much control over its suppliers due to its large market share. The suppliers are at times forced to adhere to exploitative demands of Walmart for the fear of losing business. For example, Walmart demands from its supplier’s strict adherence to particular components of sustainability index. While a supplier may go extra mile to strategically incorporate all these requirements, Walmart still does not guarantee long-term business engagement with them. This is due to the corporation’s tendency of entering into short term contracts with its suppliers. 

What are Walmart’s contributions to improving the well-being of consumers and the economic sustainability of society?

Walmart has however rolled out a number of interventions in a bid to improve the well-being of consumers and economic sustainability of society. First, by sticking to its policy of selling consumers commodities at the least price possible, Walmart has been able to increase the purchasing power of the consumers. This has also made it possible for the consumers to increase the amount of money that they commit in savings. Through the sustainability efforts such as use of LED lights and natural lights in its stores, designing a sustainability index that affects the suppliers, as well as donating to charity and programs that are aimed at protecting the planet from destruction, Walmart has positively and effectively contributed to the well-being of both the consumers and the society (Ferrell, Fraedrich, and Ferrell 418). 

Other areas of Walmart contribution to the society include frequent donations to the disaster management programs. For instance, following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy, Walmart donated over $1.5 million in aid for the victims. The donation included money, food, goods. In addition, in acknowledging the obesity as a public health problem in the United States, Walmart has been working hand in hand with other stakeholders to try and make healthier commodities readily available to the consumers. A case in point is the initiative between Walmart’s U.S. President Bill Simon and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Walmart made an announcement that it would bring down the prices of its fruits and vegetable and reduce the amounts of fats, sugars, and salts in the foods it sells ((Ferrell, Fraedrich, and Ferrell). All these were steps aimed at improving the well-being of the consumers. 

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  1. Ferrell, O C, John Fraedrich, and Linda Ferrell. Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. , 2016. Print.
  2. Isidore, Chris. “Walmart to pay current employees at least $10 an hour …” Nbc-2. N.p., 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.
  3. VISWANATHA , ARUNA . “Wal-Mart Bribery Probe Finds Little Misconduct in Mexico – WSJ.” The Wall-street Journal. N.p., 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.
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