Worker Dignity & Safety

Published on September 20, 2020 and last updated on September 20, 2020

Workers washing and sorting cucumbers

Walmart seeks to address potential risks to the dignity and safety of workers in our supply chain through working with others to strengthen the demand for responsible recruitment practices, promote safe working conditions, and advance gender equity. We support initiatives in key geographies and supply chains where we believe our efforts can have the greatest impact.

Promoting the dignity of workers in our supply chain begins by setting clear expectations for our suppliers. These are set out in our Standards for Suppliers, are consistent with our respect for human rights, and is foundation to our sustainability efforts. These apply to anyone that supplies products to Walmart for resale as well as the facilities and any agents they use.

These standards include expectations around forced labor, worker safety and respect in the workplace. Through our Responsible Sourcing compliance program, we use audits, investigations and other tools to monitor compliance and hold suppliers accountable for upholding our standards.

Beyond compliance, we leverage our scale and capabilities in collaboration with others to address complex social issues in a way that creates lasting impact and system wide change. Walmart is working with suppliers to advance priorities around responsible recruitment in our supply chains.

Addressing Forced Labor Risks

  • Responsible Recruitment
    By the end of 2026, we want responsible recruitment to be the standard business practice for employers throughout the global supply chain.

    Walmart is actively working with suppliers and others to help mitigate risks for those most vulnerable to forced labor and trafficking. Forced labor is a complex issue, and Walmart believes that by collaborating with others to address the issue and drive systems change, we can transform the system for lasting sustainable impact.

    Why It Matters

    Forced labor is recognized as a risk in multiple industries employing migrant workers including seafood, electronics, apparel, and agriculture. As migrant workers often rely on labor brokers to facilitate their migration and employment, they may be exposed to unethical and exploitative recruitment practices including being charged multiple fees for travel, passport and visa processing, medical examinations and other unspecified services. These fees can often be excessive, leading to debt that may leave workers vulnerable to further exploitation. Walmart believes that adoption of the Employer Pays Principle – that no worker should pay for a job and that the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer - is fundamental in combatting exploitation, forced labor, and the trafficking of migrant workers in global supply chains.

    Walmart’s Aspiration

    Walmart wants responsible recruitment to be the standard business practice for employers throughout the global supply chain by 2026. To do so, we are working with other businesses, suppliers, governments and members of civil society to confront the root causes of forced labor and trafficking. Walmart believes in the Employer Pays Principle as outlined in our Responsible Recruitment Statement of Principles.

    Approach to Collaboration

    Our suppliers play an important role in this process, as the actions they take to understand and strengthen their recruitment practices will help drive out bad actors and help mitigate the risk to workers.

    To accelerate progress towards our 2026 goal, we are encouraging our suppliers to participate in industry efforts and drive responsible recruitment within their own supply chains. Future updates are planned to this site to support progress.