Tag Archive for ‘WalMart’
For workers stuck on the bottom rung, living on poverty wages is hard enough. But many also are victims of wage theft, a catch-all term for payroll abuses that cheat workers of income they are supposedly guaranteed by law. Over the last few years employers ranging from baseball’s San Francisco Giants to Subway franchises to Farmers Insurance have been cited for wage violations.
The world’s largest retailer last month released a list of more than 200 factories it said it had barred from producing its merchandise because of serious or repeated safety problems, labor violations or unauthorized subcontracting. But at least two of the factories on the list have continued to send massive shipments to Walmart stores in recent months, according to interviews and U.S. customs records.
The New York Times reported this week that Walmart allegedly engaged in a vast campaign of bribery to expand the company’s Mexico business in the early 2000s, potentially violating U.S. law. The scheme was allegedly overseen by a Walmart executive, Eduardo Castro-Wright, described by The Times as “the driving force behind years of bribery” totaling millions of dollars.
Warehouse workers in the Inland Empire — as well as in the next two biggest distribution hubs, the Chicago area and central New Jersey — are cogs in a system that stocks the shelves of stores such as Walmart, Target and Foot Locker. Even so, the big retailers are separated from the workers, and shielded from legal exposure, by layers of intermediary companies.
A KPMG International study of executives released April 18 said that, “nearly 55 per cent of US executives say their organization has a formal sustainability strategy in place… Another 12 per cent say they are working on a strategy and an additional 19 percent expect to eventually develop a formal plan… Asked to identify the top three benefits from their sustainability program, the respondents most often chose: better or more efficient business processes and practices; increased profitability or shareholder value; and the ability to attract or retain new or existing customers… ”
The giant low-cost retailer announced plans to offer healthier food and to push its suppliers to do the same. The company said it would reformulate “thousands of everyday packaged foods” by 2015 by reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars 10 percent, and by removing all remaining industrially-produced trans fats.
In August 2009, Kimberly-Clark, the paper giant behind the Kleenex, Cottonelle and Scott brands and the largest manufacturer of tissue products in the world, gave in to pressure from Greenpeace and other environmental groups to clean up its act in regard to how it sources its wood fiber and how much recycled content it includes in its products.
“Sustainable excellence” is a term used by Aron Cramer and Zachary Karabell to describe companies that operate profitably, are committed to superior business practices, and “integrate consideration of society and the environment into their DNA.” Gael O’Brien reviews their new book.
EarthTalk® From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: I know that local food has health and environmental benefits, but my local grocer only carries a few items. Is there a push for bigger supermarkets to carry locally produced food? — Maria Fine, Somerville, MA By eating locally sourced foods, we strengthen the bond […]
Walmart has been working to clean up its image in recent years, and many environmentalists are pleased with the company’s commitment to reduce its massive carbon footprint. Many, however, view the company’s initiatives with skepticism, especially considering its overall impact on communities.