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Standards report released by Wal-Mart


BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced the release of its 2006 Ethical Sourcing report, providing information on the company’s Ethical Standards Program, its impact on factory working conditions and the lives of factory workers. According to the company's report, in 2006 Wal-Mart conducted more factory audits than any other company in the world, at 8,873 factories producing goods for Wal-Mart, 15% more than in 2005. Unannounced audits made up 26% of the audits undertaken, a 6% increase over 2005. High risk violations of the Wal-Mart Standards for Suppliers code decreased 23.5% in 2006, mainly due to educational outreach.

“The Wal-Mart Ethical Standards program is in place to do what is right for factory workers and the environment,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, vp of ethical standards for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “The only way to achieve our objective is by moving beyond monitoring factories to working in collaboration with stakeholders. In this manner, we not only bring sustainable and positive change to working conditions in factories, we also to help build ladders to a better life in the countries where we’re sourcing.”

In 2006, over 200 Ethical Standards associates were located in five regions around the globe: Southeast Asia; the Indian subcontinent; the Far East; the Americas; and the Middle East, Africa and Europe, according to Wal-Mart. The Ethical Standards team monitors supplier factories, engages with stakeholders, manages risk, and works to educate factories and suppliers to help prevent violations of Wal-Mart’s Standards for Suppliers code. The team is entrusted with verifying that suppliers comply with Wal-Mart’s Standards for Suppliers code of conduct and working to improve factory working conditions throughout the industry.

Established in 1992, Wal-Mart’s Standards for Suppliers code details the company’s expectations for labor practices in the production of merchandise for sale by Wal-Mart. Every supplier must sign an agreement that they, their contractors, and subcontractors will abide by the Standards for Suppliers code. As part of Wal-Mart’s agreement with suppliers, a poster of the Standards code, signed by factory management, must be displayed in a location visible to all employees at all facilities that manufacture merchandise for sale by Wal-Mart.

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