How has Wal-Mart Stores invested in and assessed its corporate social responsibility? Where has the company invested?
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is unanimously considered not merely an organization with a rigid set of CSR principles, but the company that sets an example in CSR principles implementation. Wal-Mart has taken CSR to an entirely new level by incorporating the concepts of sustainability and philanthropy in them: “Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity” (CSR profile of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2015).
Therefore, it can be considered that Wal-Mart invests actively into the development of CSR. More importantly, the company links CSR to the concept of environmental sustainability, therefore, promoting adequate use of resources. Specifically, the company has invested into the reduction of waste produced (Environmental sustainability, 2015) by launching the Zero-Waste-to-Landfill program.
What assessment have they used to measure the effectiveness of their programs?
The effectiveness of the programs is measured by comparing the company’s Sustainability Index to the acceptable rate. The above-mentioned measurement tool was designed by Wal-Mart in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC). The Sustainability Index, which comprises of several components for measuring the company’s compliance with the key principles of sustainability, therefore, can be viewed as the basic assessment of the CSR rates in the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
According to the official description, the index measures around 700 categories (Environmental sustainability, 2015), thus, creating the premises for an objective evaluation of the company’s success in deploying sustainability strategies and the CSR approach in its framework.
Moreover, the tool in question helps quantify the progress that the company makes in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions; according to the latest updates on the organization’s success, the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has “eliminated 7.575 MMT of GHG by the end of 2013” (Environmental sustainability, 2015, par. 5).
What has been your experience? What do other stakeholders say?
As far as my personal experience as a customer is concerned, Wal-Mart has done an extensive job in improving its sustainability policy and getting its CSR priorities straight. Particularly, the fact that the organization has decided to consider the global effects of its production process (2015 global responsibility report, 2015) deserves being marked as a major step in the right direction.
It is also quite inspiring that the company has found balance between quality, price and use of resources. While price, which the company charges for most goods and services that it produces, is quite low, the quality of the products supplied by Wal-Mart is admittedly high.
More impressively, the company manages to locate the methods of production that affect the environment to the smallest degree possible by reducing waste and recycling. However, not all stakeholders believe that Wal-Mart leaders try hard enough; for instance, some organizations blame the company for failing to prevent or address the infamous Bangladesh factory disasters (Sethi, 2013).
Is there a difference of opinion about the results? Where does the difference come from?
As it has been stressed above, not all stakeholders view Wal-Mart as the company that takes care of its key stakeholders and maintains decent sustainability rates. As the report concerning the Bangladesh disaster shows, most of the critique concerns the fact that the Wal-Mart Company, Inc. refused to take responsibility for the effects that the factory accident had caused (Sethi, 2013).
In the light of the fact that the organization positions itself as a highly ethical company, the critique of its actions seems quite legitimate. The difference between the opinions and the actual results that the organization delivers, therefore, concerns the ethics of Wal-Mart leaders’ decisions.
2015 global responsibility report. (2015). Web.
CSR profile of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2015). Web.
Environmental sustainability. (2015). Web.
Sethi, S. P. (2013). The world of Wal-Mart. Web.