May 1, 2008
My final project is entitled “take the power back.” It is about the corruption and social, global and environmental injustices regarding the multi-national corporation, Wal-Mart. It ranges from injustices regarding workers rights, workers overseas and within the US, environmental injustices, costs to communities and tax-payers. Whether or not it is becoming an activist or just becoming more aware, we need to realize the high costs of the low prices.
April 19, 2008
I found this article online at walmartfacts.com. I thought it was interesting especially since we just finished reading about fair trade coffee in class. I think that it is actually good that Wal-Mart has started to jump on the “green” wagon and offering more organic and fair trade products. At least something that the company is starting to change.
Wal-Mart Launches Exclusive Sam’s Choice Line of Organic, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade Certified Coffees
Retailer Answers Coffee Drinkers’ Demands for Guilt-Free Gourmet Taste
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – April 1, 2008 – Wal-Mart today announced another first – the launch of six coffees under its exclusive Sam’s Choice brand. The new coffees offer shoppers the opportunity to purchase gourmet coffee at a great value while providing benefits to farmers, their communities and the environment. Bolstering Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to environmental issues, these first Sam’s Choice brand coffees hit store shelves in April at $5.88 for 10-12 oz. bags and are part of an Earth Month expansion of eco-friendly products that help consumers live better without compromising budget.
The initial Sam’s Choice gourmet coffees include Fair Trade Certified ™ House Blend, Espresso Roast and French Roast; Rainforest Alliance™ Certified Breakfast Blend whole bean and ground coffee; and USDA Organic, Swiss Water® Process Decaffeinated. All Sam’s Choice coffees are 100 percent Arabica beans. In addition, the six Sam’s Choice gourmet coffees are roasted by Café Bom Dia, a Brazil-based company that measured, reduced and offset its emissions to become the world’s first CarbonNeutral® roaster.
“We recognize our customers’ desire to buy products that have a positive environmental and social impact, and we are proud to offer an affordable line of coffee that is sourced and roasted with sustainability in mind,” said DeDe Priest, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Wal-Mart. “For instance, if each of Wal-Mart’s 200 million shoppers bought one 10-oz. bag of Sam’s Choice Rainforest USDA Certified organic coffee, it would prevent 133 million pounds of fertilizers and chemicals from being released into the environment.”
Recent reports show that demand for gourmet coffee with social benefits is skyrocketing. For example, Fair Trade Certified coffee grew tenfold between 2001 and 2006 reaching $730 million in retail sales, according to TransFair USA, the only third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States. Market researchers at Mintel International Group, a leader in global consumer insights, predict that Fair Trade Certified will be a top food trend for 2008, and gourmet industry commentators at the popular Web site Epicurious refer to Fair Trade as “the new organic.”
Conservation International has identified 34 “biodiversity hotspots”, defined as the biologically richest and most endangered places on earth where immediate conservation action can do the most good. Nearly half of the “hotspots” identified by this distinguished non profit organization are now coffee-growing areas. And small family farmers, who through Fair Trade certification can earn higher harvest prices for using sustainable practices, grow more than 50 percent of the world’s coffee, according to TransFair USA.
“Wal-Mart is an innovative partner in offering high quality, Fair Trade Certified coffee in a manner that both expands the marketplace and delivers value back down the supply chain to the farmer. A year from now we will be able to trace Sam’s Choice coffee sales directly to improved environmental management at Fair Trade coffee farms and higher quality of life in farm communities,” said Paul Rice, TransFair USA president and CEO.
“Certification requires farms to meet environmental, social and economic standards that protect soils and waterways and provide workers with dignified working and living conditions,” said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. “Wal-Mart’s offering of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee nationwide will make it easier than ever for shoppers to do the right thing by choosing coffee that comes from farms where wildlife habitat is protected and communities are supported.”
About Sam’s Choice Certifications
- Sam’s Choice Fair Trade Certified coffee
- Fair Trade Certified coffees are grown by family farmers who are paid a minimum guaranteed price for coffee that is grown and harvested under strict environmental and social standards.
- Sam’s Choice Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee
- Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee comes from farms that use environmentally, socially and economically sustainable practices that conserve biodiversity and support workers and their families.
- Sam’s Choice USDA Organic Swiss Water ® Process Decaffeinated coffee
- Organic farms are certified to have eliminated the use of pesticides and fertilizers, conserved water and land, and encouraged the use of renewable resources in production. Swiss Water Process uses water diffusion and filtration to draw caffeine away from the bean. Swiss Water Process Decaffeination is a natural alternative to harsh chemical solvents like methylene chloride used to produce many decaffeinated coffees.
- CarbonNeutral certification
- Through measurements, reductions and offsets, the supplier has certified that 100 percent of carbon emissions in roasting and packaging have been reduced to a net zero
April 12, 2008
This weeks blog is the final two chapters in the video series from the documentary, The High Cost of Low Price, chapters 10 and 11. Chapter 10 continues from last weeks chapter 9 describing how Wal-Mart cares little about the well-being of its customers once they leave the store. Many vicious attacks on customers by strangers in Wal-Marts parking lots has prompted a need for extra security for their customers. Chapter 10 also begins to talk of solidarity from cities across the nation who fight against the opening of stores in their towns most importantly the video uses the example of the fight in Inglewood, California. The small town of Inglewood was able to fight off the world’s largest retailer from setting foot in their town. It was definitely a great victory and set an example to other cities around the nation that they have a voice as well and that they can do something about it.
April 5, 2008
I am trying to finish this video series by the end of this semester which is coming up. I only have a few more chapters. This movie really captures all aspects of the injustices of wal-mart. However, WordPress is not allowing me to post either video for some reason so I will post the links on the bottom. I highly recommend that you go and watch these chapters. This weeks video is chapters 8 and 9. Chapter 8 continues part of last weeks chapter 7 regarding overseas workers in china and other parts of the world that are working long hours, for less than three dollars a day, living in horrible conditions, told and threatened to lie when Wal-Mart representatives visit the factories. What I found most interesting was the last part of chapter 8 and chapter 9 discusses the CEO of Wal-Mart Lee Scott; his salary as CEO vs. the average salary of a wal-Mart worker per year. It also goes on to discuss the wealth of the Walton family. The material things that the Walton family has such as an apolcalyptic bunker so that the family survives when the end of the world arrives is ridiculous. The Walton family has given less than 1% of their total earnings to charity.
March 29, 2008
This week is a further continuation of the movie, the High Cost of Low Price. Once again it is within two different youtube videos so you will have to play both of them. The first video is about the millions of dollars of subsidies given to the Wal-Mart corporation by each city that it occupies. These subsidies would have provided money for law enforcement, education and the bettering of the community but instead was given to Wal-Mart. Now many communities face shortages for basic needs when the subsidies could have been used for a better purpose. More importantly, chapter 7 focuses on the environmental injustice that Wal-Mart has done to communities around the nation. Things such as improper storage of pesticides in the Wal-Mart parking lots. During times of rain, pesticides would run into the drinking water of many towns. There is also a huge lack of corporate regard for the environmental damage that it is responsible for.
March 18, 2008
In regards to a comment made on my last posting of 81 stores in one month; I just wanted to respond to the comment made by a blogger. Is Wal-Mart really helping the economy more than it is hindering it? I am not entirely against Wal-Mart. That is not what i’m saying. I must admit that I am an avid shopper there among many other students especially when in a college town, almost everyone can’t afford to shop anywhere else but Wal-Mart. I am one of these people. I can admit that. What I am saying and in my hope to reveal in this blog, is that everyone must know what Wal-Mart is doing not only to the economy but socially and environmentally as well. It must be known. That is my purpose of this blog. Now, to answer the question posed by this blogger. Yes, Wal-Mart does help in some ways to bring jobs to the economy but in the process of bringing those jobs there are other negative side affects to the towns, people and environment, which over that past weeks of my blog I have been trying to reveal. But in reality, are these jobs healthy jobs when employees are discriminated against, can’t receive health care, cheated out of overtime etc. While I know that this blog will not stop people from shopping at Wal-Mart, my goal here is to reveal the invisible fence of injustice regarding the company. Another point that I will bring up regarding my last post is that a huge monopoly that Wal-Mart has in its category of business. Is that monopoly really healthy for our economy? Where people no longer have options to buy their food, clothing, electronics etc. Monopolies end up screwing everyone else that can’t compete. I find the healthy aspect of Wal-Mart to the economy hard to believe.
March 11, 2008
I found this article at Walmartfacts.com. The article speaks of 81 brand new Wal-Mart Supercenters opening all across the nation. At least, to me, 81 stores seems mind boggling. The supposed reason for the many openings is to increase money saving choice for consumers all around the nation. Will that still be the excuse when we have a Wal-Mart on every corner say 10 years from now? Seems like overkill huh? These openings will also bring about 16,500 jobs around the nation, total. While this will bring jobs, what other side effects are brought on by these openings?
|Wal-Mart Opens 81 Stores and Clubs in March Providing Jobs and Savings Nationwide|
March 1, 2008
This week’s blog is a continuation from two weeks ago’s videos from chapters 2 and 3 from the video The High Cost of Low Price. The chapters this week are chapter 4 and 5 of the movie. In Chapter 4, the video speaks of the high cost that Wal-Mart pays in its stores for anti-union campaigns and prevention while Wal-Mart stores in Germany have unions that pay and treat workers fairly. Chapter 5, speaks of discrimination in the stores against women themselves and workers of color. It also speaks of how managers cheat workers out of overtime in an attempt to keep costs low.
February 21, 2008
This article comes from Walmartfacts.com. I found it interesting since Wal-Mart reports record numbers in sales this quarter despite the hard economic times? Surprising? Personally, I didn’t think it would be. Since the economy is slower than it has been before I wouldn’t be surprised that Wal-Mart pulled in record sales. Cheap prices-less money consumers have to spend on everyday items=buying more from Wal-Mart. So I posted the news articles below.
Wal-Mart Reports Record Fourth Quarter Sales and Earnings
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 19, 2008 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today reported its sales and earnings for the quarter ended Jan. 31, 2008. Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008 were $106.269 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent over the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007. Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $4.096 billion, an increase of 4.0 percent from $3.940 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2007.
Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008 were $1.02, up 7.4 percent from $0.95 per share in the same prior year quarter, including a net charge of approximately $0.02 per share for certain items this year.
These items included charges of $0.03 for approximately $70 million in after-tax expenses for dropped U.S. real estate projects and an after-tax restructuring charge of $32 million in the Company’s Japan operations, and a $0.01 benefit from the recognition of approximately $38 million in after-tax gains from the sale of certain real estate properties.
Net sales for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008 were $374.526 billion, an increase of 8.6 percent over fiscal year 2007. Income from continuing operations for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008 increased 5.8 percent to $12.884 billion, up from $12.178 billion in the prior year. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008 were $3.16, up 8.2 percent from $2.92 in the prior year.
“For the fourth quarter, we topped $100 billion in sales, the first time in history that any retailer has reached this milestone in a single quarter,” said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. president and chief executive officer. “We had a very strong underlying operating performance, exceeding our expectations for the quarter. In addition to another year of record sales and earnings, we also delivered a record return to our shareholders this year through more than $11 billion in share repurchase and dividends.”
Scott attributed the strong results to the Company’s price leadership and improved customer service, especially at the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. division.
“The price leadership strategy we put in place at the beginning of the year was exactly the right strategy for our customers around the world in a tough economic environment,” Scott said. “The combination of price leadership and improved customer service made the difference in the fourth quarter for our U.S. operations, and I also want to thank our Sam’s Clubs and International associates for their record performances this year.
“We know that the economy remains a critical factor in this new fiscal year,” Scott added. “Customers were more cautious in their spending in January. In a volatile economy, I believe we are well positioned to succeed. We will continue to strengthen our price leadership around the world.”
February 17, 2008
This past week, there was the career fair over at the University of Idaho. By the end of the career fair, I had realized that I had handed in a resume to Wal-Mart Logistics which handles all of the supply stores for the Wal-mart chain. I said to myself, “oh my god, i’m doing a project on this company and here I go applying to work there.” Ironic? so I decided to focus this week’s blog on the employee’s of Wal-Mart. It is my goal to show all chapters from the documentary, “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.” This weeks blog comes from chapters 2 and 3 from this documentary, continuing from two weeks ago’s chapter one. Since it is a continuation from chapter one, it does continue about the destruction to small town businesses and and towns and then begins to talk about troubles regarding Wal-Mart workers (i.e expensive health plans, shortage of workers, long hours, welfare etc.). Chapter 3 continues on with this story so you will have to play the second video to finish the story about the workers.