BENTONVILLE, Ark.–Walmart has begun a program intended to elevate the role of women across its supply chain, called the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative.
Among the five goals of the initiative, which the mass merchant is gearing to achieve by 2016, is to increase sourcing from women-owned businesses and to increase gender diversity among its major suppliers. Over the next five years, Walmart said, it will source $20 billion in products from women-owned vendors in the United States, and double its sourcing from women-owned suppliers internationally. It will also work with professional-service firms and merchandise suppliers with more than $1 billion in sales to increase women and minority representation on Walmart accounts.
The other goals include increasing the skills of women on farms and factories through training, market access and career opportunities; helping women from low-income households through job training and access to higher education; and supporting women’s empowerment programs through philanthropic giving, with a goal of more than $100 million in grants from the Walmart Foundation and from Walmart’s international businesses.
“We want women to view us as a retailer that is relevant to them and cares about them,” said Mike Duke, Walmart president and CEO. “We want them to be leading suppliers, managers and loyal customers.”