Business Ethics Term Paper:
Walmart serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 9,826 retail units under 60 different banners in 28 countries. With their fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, with the opening of the first Walmart discount store in Rogers, Ark. The company incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., on Oct. 31, 1969. The company's shares began trading on OTC markets in 1970 and were listed on the New York Stock Exchange two years later. In this term paper I will be discussing the different ethical questions that arise about Walmart and some of the ethical concerns that people have about Walmart. The first issue we are going to discuss is the environmental issues of Walmart. The first thing is that there are consequences for suppliers to “obey” Wal-Mart’s green initiatives. Another thing they seem to have a problem with is the numerous fines that they have accumulated. One example of these fines is one that happened on August 16th 2005. According to organicconsumers.org Wal-Mart agreed to pay a $1.15 million fine and correct a slew of environmental violations at 22 of its Connecticut stores, violations that state officials said showed a systematic disregard for the law. The violations that Walmart broke were the increased pollution that was going into their drains. And the year before this Walmart was fined $3.1 million for some of the same things. So these violations aren’t something that just happened for one year and then they were fixed they seem to be an ongoing problem. So how did all of this pollution develop? One of the ways that Walmart has caused so much pollution is from their increased travel of customers and delivery trucks. Other pollution causes are non-point source water pollution, sprawl and auto pollution, and there is a large amount of energy use going on in the company. And while there are arguments about how Walmart is being reckless with the environment, there is also some good that Walmart is trying to do regarding the environment. While Walmart may not be as efficient as it would like to be when dealing with the environment they are trying to take steps towards it to make sure they are complying with all of the environmental standards. Walmart has a goal to be supplied 100% by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to try to sell products that sustain people and the environment. These are some possible resolutions to this issue. A website that I found interesting pertaining to this was www.walmartwatch.com. The website states that its mission is to “hold Walmart fully accountable for its impact on communities, the American workforce, the retail sector, the environment and the nation’s economy.” I think ethically this is a good thing for someone to keep such a large company accountable for what it does. The next ethical issue that I came across was how Walmart exploits its workers and suppliers. Walmart is the world’s largest retail industry but it seems that they fail to use this for the good of its employees. According to Walmart watch the average pay a sales associate gets for being employed at Walmart is $8.81 an hour. That comes to about $15,500 a year which is based on a full time status there of 34 hours. And most of the employees at Walmart aren’t even full time employees; most of it is part-time jobs which makes their annual salary even less. The problem that people have with this is that Walmart could be paying its employees more than they do now and this is where the ethical dilemma comes into play. The problem people may have with this is that in 2010 Walmart’s CEO Mike received 18.7 million in total compensation. Walmart has also cut two of its longest standing benefits for employees. The first one that got cut was its profit sharing program, and the other one that got cut was that as of 2011, no new employees would any extra...
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