The Council on Ethics’ recommendation, 2 July 2013
The dialogue with Walmart has focused on: greater transparency, better reporting on employees’ rights and work situation, and the adoption of a group-wide policy relating to employees’ rights which is in line with the ILO Core Conventions. The Council has been in dialogue with the company for over six years, and has seen evidence of some progress relating to transparency and reporting on these issues. For instance the company now has a CSR Report that not only focuses on environmental issues, but also raises the company’s dealings with its employees and other social issues. However, the Council deems the development to be insufficient.
While the dialogue has led to some progress, the Council can see that many of the demands it has made have not been dealt with at all, that the changes that have been made have taken far too long, and that reports on systematic opposition of employees’ rights are still coming in. It is also clear to the Council that several senior executives at Walmart, who have acted as the Council’s contacts and have worked for changes in line with the Council’s requests, no longer work for the company. Since the corruption scandal in subsidiary Walmart de Mexico was discovered in April 2012, the company has not been interested in continued dialogue.
The Council deems that continued dialogue with Walmart is no longer meaningful. There is nothing to indicate that the company intends to revise its view of employees’ rights, or even has a desire to be more transparent in its reporting on these matters. This means that the company will still be linked to violations of the ILO Core Conventions. The Council therefore recommends that Walmart Stores be excluded.