Friday 31 October 2008

Even Walmart's doing it!

Corporate Social Responsibility ("CSR") is one of the buzz terms of the new wider consensus on the need to act ethically in business. Over at the Ethical Corporation blog I detect some concern about the effect that the recession will have on corporate behaviour. Will corners be cut and blind eyes turned when it comes to keeping up standards?

Well not at WalMart apparently. Through the EC blog I found this article at the Financial Times where it seems Walmart's intentions are to push its supplier's harder on their CSR standards. I particularly liked the quote from Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's chief executive, told a meeting of more than 1,000 suppliers in Beijing, many no doubt in the clothing industry.

"Meeting social and environmental standards is not optional. A company that cheats on overtime and on the age of its labour, that dumps its scraps and its chemicals in our rivers, that does not pay its taxes or honour its contracts - will ultimately cheat on the quality of its products."

I trust that Mr Scott had checked out that WalMart's tax position was squeaky clean before lecturing his suppliers!

Anyway, it's a good message and heartening to hear it put forcibly in China by what may be Chinese industry's biggest customer.

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