Walmart, Inc | Human Rights Due Diligence at Walmart, Inc

Status
Filed
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
6
Resolution details
Company ticker
WMT
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Decent work
  • Human rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED, that the shareholders of Walmart Inc. (“Walmart”) hereby request that the Walmart Board of Directors (the “Board”) prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on Walmart’s human rights due diligence (“HRDD”) process to identify, assess, prevent and mitigate actual and potential adverse human rights impacts in its domestic and foreign operations and supply chains.
Supporting statement
Supporting Statement:
As outlined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we recommend the report identify:
-The human rights principles used to frame its risk assessments;
- The human rights impacts of Walmart’s business activities, including domestic and foreign operations and supply chains;
- The types and extent of stakeholder consultation; and
- Walmart’s plans to track effectiveness of measures to assess, prevent, mitigate, and remedy adverse human rights impacts.
We strongly believe that HRDD reduces long-term risks for Walmart and its stakeholders. Companies that proactively identify and mitigate human rights abuses may avoid costly backlash from communities, customers, and government regulators. For leading retailers like Walmart, this creates an imperative not to cause or contribute to abuses within their operations or supply chains. As one of the largest employers in the United States, Walmart’s business practices and relationships with suppliers operating in high-risk sectors could expose Walmart and its investors to legal, reputational and financial risk.

Increased public scrutiny on employers whose employees rely heavily on public assistance, and on industries heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic or reliant upon high-risk suppliers magnifies these risks. The New York Times reported on alarming working conditions for Walmart’s domestic workers during the pandemic1 and accusations that Walmart punished workers for using sick time.2 Walmart was sued for alleged failure to accommodate pregnant employees; while the lawsuit was dismissed, it seemingly pressured Congress to intervene.3 Recent scholarship found that in 2022, at least half of Walmart’s hourly workers earn under $29,000 annually,4 insufficient wages for a basic standard of living. Responsible companies must strive to identify, remedy and prevent poor labor practices to mitigate these reputational and legal risks.

Improving treatment of employees and foreign and domestic supply chain sourcing not only garners positive attention and customer loyalty, it can inoculate companies from anticipated regulatory changes, like the impending European Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (which requires importers to implement certain due diligence processes). Competitors, including Kroger, Jumbo, Tesco and others, have conducted or committed to HRDD, including by conducting human rights impact assessments on high-risk commodities.

Given the low cost of conducting and reporting on HRDD relative to the significant potential costs tied to human rights violations, we urge the Board to adopt this proposal as a cost-effective means of reducing exposure to risk and protecting basic human rights.
1 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/27/business/walmart-coronavirus-workers-safety.html
2 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/business/walmart-workers-sick-days.html
3 https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/walmart-pregnancy-accommodation-ruling-puts-pressure-on- congress
4 ttps://time.com/charter/6238245/still-broke-rick wartzman/#:~:text=Wartzman%20estimates%20that%20at%20least%20half%20of%20Walmart%E2%80%99 s,a%20 fair%20chance%20that%20you%E2%80%99ll%20still%20be%20poor

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Anima Sgr For As despite some of the updates and enhancements in its reporting, continued progress in providing additional transparency will benefit Walmart in its risk identification and assessment process, ultimately leading to improved processes in its operations. Walmart has not indicated the level of responsibility the company has to human rights, nor disclosed the results of its HRDD process. The company has also faced scrutiny over allegations surrounding forced labor, child labor, insufficient sick leave, treatment of pregnant workers, insufficient wages, and international supply chain concerns. In light of these alleged controversies, shareholders would benefit from expanded and enhanced disclosures around the company's efforts to eliminate child labor from its supply chain.
Shareholder would benefit from a specific methodology of its HRDD, further disclosure of results, and better consolidation of the information and disclosure already provided to better support shareholders.
EFG Asset Management For
VidaCaixa For

DISCLAIMER: By including a shareholder resolution or management proposal in this database, neither the PRI nor the sponsor of the resolution or proposal is seeking authority to act as proxy for any shareholder; shareholders should vote their proxies in accordance with their own policies and requirements.

Any voting recommendations set forth in the descriptions of the resolutions and management proposals included in this database are made by the sponsors of those resolutions and proposals, and do not represent the views of the PRI.

Information on the shareholder resolutions, management proposals and votes in this database have been obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable, but the PRI does not represent that it is accurate, complete, or up-to-date, including information relating to resolutions and management proposals, other signatories’ vote pre-declarations (including voting rationales), or the current status of a resolution or proposal. You should consult companies’ proxy statements for complete information on all matters to be voted on at a meeting.