Increase in corporate scandals has created a need for various stakeholders to keenly follow the activities of corporate organizations. Gone are the days when corporate organizations thrived at the expense of the society. The changing legal, and social environment require establishment of ethics programs aimed at protecting the company and all its stakeholders. Corporate organizations are left with no option but to formulate these ethics since investors are keen when it comes to the decision of where to put their money. Responsible Investment (RI) is the order of the day. Today, both institutional and individual investors have turned to index-based investments in order to navigate CSR landscape and hence avoid guess work by investing responsibly (Jerry, 2008). This paper explores Wal-Mart Stores’ website and annual report in order to establish its stance on CSR.
Wal-Mart Corporate has established itself as a company that is not only interested in recording profits; it has proved to operate with utmost regard given to CSR. A tour through its website reveals a lot. To begin with, the company ensures that it addresses its social responsibilities to the various stakeholders. Reports shows that in September 2010, for example, Walmart teamed up with Sam’s Club in offering flu shots powered by Mollen Immunization clinics in more than 4100 stores and clubs across U.S. Teaming up to offer this important health services at convenient and affordable prices is an act of showing appreciation of the stakeholders.
News from Walmart’s Community page indicates that the company’s foundation has set aside $25 million as its summer giving. This money is to be committed to provision of nutritious meals, sponsoring education of needy students and creating job opportunities for the so many jobless youth in the society. A walk through this community page indicates that this company is really committed in improving the welfare of the people. It shows the company’s realization of the fact that sending huge dividends to its shareholders while so many members of the community that serves as the destination of its products is just but creating more problems in the society. It has distinguished itself as part of the solution to the society’s problems. The company is bettering the welfare of the people by investing heavily in social activities geared towards creation of a better society through poverty elimination, job creation, environmental conservation programs and lastly partnering with different groups in order to ensure quality education for all children in the society.
On the part of employees, the company has a policy that protects the welfare of its employees. The rights of employees have been undermined by corporate organizations that only view their employees as instruments to enhance production and hence aid in the growth of the organizations. Walmart realizes the fact that an employee whose welfare is well taken care of is more productive. It endures to meet the employee’s expectations by securing their jobs and always enhancing enabling environment for the employees to discover their worth.
The company’s management has always ensured fair play exists when making key decisions that affect investors. Involvement of investors in formulation of financial policies is very important, it a CSR requirement. The company has always endeavored to win investor’s trust throughout its operation. The financial position of this company indicates that it has all the support it requires from its investors since this support is very important for the company to enjoy financial stability that Walmart has actually had for so many years.
In the retail industry, CSR is very important since it earns the company a specific reputation from the consumers. Retailers tend to develop a close relationship with their consumers; given this close association, the retailer’s CSR dictates the image that he/she will have. A retail company that is perceived by the community in which it offers its products as having good CSR will have a good command of the market. This is why Walmart has been able to expand globally.
The global marketplace has made it easier for companies to have a wider market for their products. Without their being in place proper checks, some of these companies will continue to create social and environmental problems. Multinational corporations expanding their services have often been reported to exploit their employees especially when they expand their operations to developing countries. Most of these corporations do not pay any attention to the welfare of the people; their interest is usually the amassing huge profits at the expense of the poor people. CSR will ensure that these corporations address the social needs of the people and also protect the environment (Caroll, 2004).
It is clear that CSR program is vital in ensuring that companies meet their responsibilities to various stakeholders. The stakeholders here are; the company’s employees, the consumers, the company’s neighboring communities, the investors and the investors. The company’s name must also be protected. By implementing a CSR Program, a company not only meets its social and environmental obligations, it puts itself in a better position to attract more investors. It is therefore important for the managerial boards of companies to formulate and implement CSR programs in their respective companies. They should move from the traditional ways of amassing wealth through victimization of the society and instead aim at growing wholesomely with the society.