Wal-Marts Corporate Ethics and Social Responsibilities Efforts

Wal-Mart is a multi-billion corporation that opened its doors back in 1962, on July 2nd of that year the first Wal-Mart store was opened in Rogers, Arkansas under the supervision and influence of Sam Walton. Walton is the man responsible for engraving the goals, values, and influences that the company has practiced and evolved with up until today. Throughout the years the company built on Walton’s goals and beliefs, Walton believed in leadership through service and believed that if everyone worked together, everyone will lower the cost of living and allow the world to see what it’s like to save and have a better life. Today Wal-Mart continues to believe in the influences of Walton and runs the business under those influences. This essay will analyze the company’s ethics and corporate social responsibility efforts to see how the company’s core values are scattered within the corporation and the world.

Ethics is interpreted as a moral code of principles that sets standards of good or bad, or right or wrong in one's conduct. Wal-Mart established a Global Statement of Ethics and in the statement of ethics, it introduces the behavior and conducts that they believe make a fair and honest workplace while operating in compliance with the law and policies. The Global Statement of Ethics shows that the company has four principles in its code of ethics that they strongly believe in and use to guide their decisions and leadership. Their first code is respect for the individual, the second one is service to their customers, the third one is striving for excellence and the last one is acting with integrity. The statement of ethics applies to all associates of any level in the organization worldwide and it applies to all members of the board of directors of Wal-Mart stores, Inc. The company's code of ethics parallels themselves with some of the alternative views of ethics which are the moral rights view and the justice view.

The moral rights view focuses on employees’ rights to privacy, free speech, health, safety, due process, and freedom of conscience. Wal-Mart encourages its associates to voice their concerns when there are possible violations in the company’s Statement of Ethics. Associates are encouraged to call or visit online websites to voice their concerns or make a report to Global Ethics. The company takes all concerns seriously, they protect the reports, identities, and witnesses to make sure that no retaliation, harassment, or tampering occurs. The statement gives examples and guidance on how to raise their concerns, such as, associates can call the Global Ethics Hotline and can also use the open-door communication process which is a more direct way to voice their concerns to a manager. If in any case the current manager is involved, they can reach another manager that is not involved. Associates and customers are encouraged to use these resources of communication to report sexual harassment, inappropriate conduct, conflict of interest, and many more unethical occurrences. 

The justice view focuses on behavior that is ethical when people are treated equally and regarding legal rules and standards. The company’s statements urge all associates to act with integrity and encourage associates to not make unethical choices, such as not accepting brides, not practicing insider trading, and many other unethical acts. Wal-Mart has not only set certain standards for its company’s ethics; the company has made efforts to practice corporate social responsibilities. Corporate social responsibilities are the duties of an organization to act in ways that serve the interests of multiple stakeholders, including society at large. Wal-Mart released a 2018 Responsibility Report, which revealed their commitment to meet consumers' expectations and end abuses in the supply chain. One of the programs being invested in is based around supporting the farmers in India, it will provide training for one million farmers to reach supplier level standards. Wal-Mart is beginning to follow similar corporate social responsibility efforts that Starbucks practices with the farmers that produce their coffee beans. Starbucks builds a relationship with the farmers and the governments in their country as well. They build a relationship with the government because the government influences the social conditions of the country and the laws. Starbucks ensures that they stay within the realms of the law and tries to influence where they can to help the farmers build their rural communities. Starbucks developed a buying program called café practices, which stands for Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices so that farmers can stay in business globally and are social and environmentally responsible. Starbucks pays a premium price for the coffee they receive and makes sure that the people they do business with pay the farmers' a fair price and make sure that the workers on the farm are being taken care of as well. Wal-Mart is following similar practices, the Wal-Mart India and Wal-Mart Foundation announced that they will commit to supporting sustainable livelihoods for farmers in India. Walmart’s investment will help improve the farmers’ livelihood over the next five years and is working to influence the government to help the community. The government in India has already begun to thrive on this investment and is working on doubling farmers' income by 2020. Walmart’s investment is helping India’s community because it is helping to make sure that workers are getting paid a livable wage, they are providing training to farmers, they are providing knowledge to help sustain social and environmental responsibility in their community and they are organizing plans to help raise rural communities’ income.

Wal-Mart’s statement for many years has revolved around the goal of giving different community families a chance to live a better life at a low cost. This statement raises many questions about how the company manages to fulfill that goal, is that goal is being fulfilled ethically and is the company showing corporate social responsibility efforts in the process of obtaining that goal. These questions are answered by tools that Wal-Mart had constructed like the Global Ethics Hotline, which answers any questions or concerns anyone may have. The company continues to work on providing better tools to better communicate and serve people in communities and the world.

07 July 2022
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