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.
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. 1 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 an hour for their work on Sundays. Another problem that arises with exploitation is that Walmart has unfair leverage on their suppliers and forces supplier outsourcing. On the other side of this issue is that Walmart does a good job in providing employment. Walmart employs 2. 1 million associates worldwide. This is a good thing that Walmart provides so many jobs especially in a tough economy. Some would argue that it has positive effects on our economy.
It seems that everywhere I read that the negatives of employment at Walmart overpower the good. And because of this it is an ethical concern. I think that some of the possible resolutions would be to raise the wage for the employees so that they could be able to afford more. Also they should have kept their employee benefits that they cut. While Walmart may not take care of its employees as well as they should, there is really not argument for their corporate philanthropy. Some of the things they have done is that they donated approximately $800 million in value in 2011 and were name the biggest cash contributor by Chronicle of
Philanthropy. Walmart also gave a $2 billion commitment to help end hunger in America. Walmart seems to be doing a very good job in dealing with its philanthropic responsibilities. Another ethical issue that I am going to discuss is the issue of Walmart being a monopoly and how because of this it is destroying other business around it. The reason people think that Walmart is a monopoly is that it owns the majority of the market shares. The reason people think this is because it is the largest in the world in sales by 50% more than its 5 closest competitors combined which includes Target and Sears Holding.
Some reasons that it is considered to be a monopoly is that it dwarfs its competition and it affects the products prices and its choices. Walmart has the power to control prices or to get rid of the competition because of it. Walmart’s revenue $404 billion compared to other businesses is so much higher. For example, Macy’s brings in $25 billion in revenues while Sears brings in $46 billion. Because of Walmart’s large size and its buying power, Walmart is able to buy their products at very low prices. Walmart is able to strong arm its suppliers because of its ability to influence it.
And while this may be a good thing for Walmart and the people that shop there, how does it affect other businesses in the area? Many people claim that the size of Walmart is hurting white collar businesses. Almost all businesses, big or small are impacted by what Walmart does. Walmart’s competitors are often forced to lower their prices because of Walmart’s ability to keep them so low and because these businesses aren’t as profitable as Walmart, they are often closed because of the lack of profit. The final ethical issue that comes up when talking about Walmart is the affect of Walmart’s low prices.
Like stated above a consequence of the low prices are that it can destroy jobs but it also can affect the suppliers profits because of Walmart’s ability to force suppliers to go down on their prices. Because of these low prices thousands of manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas. An article that was written by Emer Basker talks about Walmart and if it is creating jobs or is it destroying jobs and also about the labor market effects on Walmart expansion. And on the other side of this issue the lower prices can be beneficial.
Walmart’s slogan is saving money so people can live better. Yes the lower costs help people save money, but at what cost? According to forbes. com, Walmart is actually good for the economy. The lower prices that Walmart can offer to the public ends up benefiting everyone. An exchange of goods at low prices benefits everyone. Even though Walmart low prices seem to benefit everyone it still doesn’t have a very good reputation with the public. In a study done that I found on forbes. com, 24% of Americans think the company is bad for the economy, and 31% had an unfavorable view of it.
So what are the stakeholders that are affected by all of these ethical issues? Some of the major stakeholders of Walmart are the owners of Walmart and the CEO, the employees and managers, and suppliers. Some of the secondary stakeholders would be other businesses and customers. Owners would have the most power, legitimacy, and urgency. The CEO and other owners would have the most power to get something done. They would be able to affect the business because they own the majority of the market share. They would also have the highest legitimacy; all of the things they say will be heard and taken care of.
They would have the highest urgency in that they would get the businesses immediate attention. I don’t think that if any resolutions of the issues above would have any effect on the power, legitimacy, and urgency of the CEO or the owners. The employees and managers would have a lot less of the power. By doing research on this topic it seems to me that the employees aren’t really treated that well and that they really don’t have that much power. It’s the same for legitimacy and urgency in that they really don’t have much of that either.
I don’t think that Walmart really takes into play the employees very much as stakeholders and if the employees ever wanted to get something changed they would have a hard time doing so because of their low power, legitimacy, and urgency. I don’t think that resolving any of the issues above would affect the employees as stakeholders. Some of the secondary stakeholders are other businesses and customers. I think first that the other businesses have absolutely none of the three. Walmart has dwarfed the competition so much that they could do nothing to affect any decision that Walmart would make.
I think the customers have at least a little bit of power. They are the ones buying the product so if they voice their displeasure with something then they may be able to get something done. It’s the same with urgency and legitimacy. Some activist groups like the Walmartwatchers. org group might have some power to get something accomplished. They are able to keep Walmart accountable for what they do by keeping track of everything Walmart does. Walmartwatchers. org keeps track of all of the facts on Walmart like their community impact, environmental records, and workplace conditions.
I think that because of this they may have some sort of power in making things happen within the business. I think that Walmart uses a utilitarianism approach when it looks at what it’s doing. Utilitarianism says that the best course of action to take is one that provides the greatest good for the greatest number. The attractiveness of utilitarianism is that it makes the decision maker, in this case Walmart, to think about the general welfare. Utilitarianism takes the approach to think in stakeholder terms. They look at owners, employees, customers, and other stakeholders and they see what is best for them and for the company.
I think Walmart uses this approach because it is the best way for them to make a profit. By looking at the greatest good for the greatest number they are able to do what they do even though it may not be popular to some people. The only problem with the utilitarianism approach is that it may come into conflict with justice. People think that an increase in total good is not good because it does not take into account any distribution of good. Another ethical approach that I think Walmart uses is the market ethic approach.
The market ethic says that selfish action in the marketplace is virtuous because they contribute to efficient operation of the economy. Decision makers might take selfish actions in order for them to make a persona gain in their business dealings. I think that Walmart could use this ethical approach because I think they are selfish in their thinking in that if it causes personal gain then it doesn’t matter if it is selfish or not. As far as the ethical tests go, I think an important ethical test that could be considered would be the test of making something public.
This test asks if you would still make the decision even if you know that everyone would be able to see it. This test addresses the issue of whether or not your decision could take scrutiny from the public. I think Walmart should use this ethical test as a way to help them make decisions. They could use this test in almost all of the issues that were mentioned above. If they would make public about how they were dealing with the environment or how they were dealing with their employees then I think it would help them make better decisions. So how can you look at this with a spiritual perspective?
I think as Christians we need to look at what Walmart is doing and look at it through our Christina worldview. I think that some of the things that Walmart does like not taking care of the environment as well as they should and not treating their employees as well as they should go against what is found in the Bible. The Bible says to be good stewards of earth and it also talks a lot about treating people fairly. So how should a Christian seek to resolve these issues? I think that trying to resolve it by yourself would be very difficult if not impossible to get anything done.
I think that by forming an activist group with other believers you could get you point out better than if you were trying to do it alone. Ultimately after doing research on Walmart, I think that Walmart has a lot to fix. But I also think that Walmart is beneficial to the economy and it doing a good job with supplying its low prices to people. It just needs to be careful that it does not become a monopoly and destroy jobs and other businesses around it. In my opinion I think Walmart is a good company that is doing a lot to help the economy.
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