BENTONVILLE, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Walmart announced today that they are one of nine corporations joining in a collaborative effort to track and report sourcing from self-identified and certified women-owned businesses (WOBs) over the next five years. This marks the first time the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled and operated by women in the U.S., will launch a formal initiative to publicly report aggregated spending on WOBs. Walmart helped form this unified front of major corporations, including Campbell Soup Company, The Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble, in order to create a more visible movement and raise awareness for the importance of sourcing from women-owned businesses.
Walmart made the announcement on behalf of the other companies involved and WBENC at Walmart’s Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Summit in Washington, D.C., a convening of leaders from business, government, NGOs and academia to discuss and celebrate the achievements of women’s empowerment.
“Creating economic opportunity and growth is central to who we are as a company,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “We are proud to be part of this important initiative, and together we can make an even bigger impact in elevating these successful women-owned businesses. Our customers care where products are sourced, and we believe supporting women-owned businesses helps us put innovative products on our shelves while helping these businesses thrive and grow.”
“Campbell is proud to join this collaborative effort in order to raise awareness and foster more opportunities for female business owners,” said Denise Morrison, president and CEO, Campbell Soup Company. “One of the core values of our company is to ‘seek the power of different’ and we are committed to assemble a supplier base that reflects the diversity of the consumers and communities we serve.”
“Empowering women entrepreneurs and women-owned firms is smart business and smart economics,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “Whenever you do the right thing and give businesswomen a real opportunity to compete, this creates a positive ripple effect that allows her to strengthen her company, her family and her community. And stronger families and communities help fuel more growth and opportunity.”
“Women and minority-owned businesses are critical to both their communities and our company as they spur economic development and drive growth,” said Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International. “We are proud to support this important initiative, as we continue to strive for inclusion and diversity in our company and women’s empowerment around the world.”
"Supporting women-owned businesses and diversity across our suppliers is central to who we are at PepsiCo,” said Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. “Our commitment to diversity is not only a source of pride, it is a source of strength. And it’s part of our broader commitment to what we call Performance with Purpose, our approach to building a healthier, sustainable future for all our stakeholders — from our suppliers to our shareholders to our consumers, customers, employees, and the communities we serve.”
"P&G is committed to Gender Equality,” said Carolyn Tastad, group president of P&G's North America business. "Supplier Diversity has been an important business strategy at P&G in the United States for more than 40 years. We are proud to join this initiative to empower women-owned businesses, as we believe in the power of economic inclusion. When the ownership of our supply base reflects the diversity of our employees, consumers, and stakeholders, our business grows and our community thrives."
“By participating in this initiative, these companies will help fuel innovation and growth for women-owned businesses across the U.S.,” said Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of WBENC. “With women-owned businesses currently supporting the creation or maintenance of 23 million American jobs, investing in their growth means investing in more opportunities for the workforce overall.”
The initiative comes at a critical time when women entrepreneurs across a range of countries report having smaller and less diverse networks, leaving them at a disadvantage for growth, innovation and ability to be relevant to a global market (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor). Walmart helped to recruit this initial group of corporations to take part in this initiative and is encouraging others to join as well.
This announcement comes on the heels of the culmination of Walmart’s five-year Global WEE Initiative, which included a set of goals to help empower women around the world through sourcing, training and supporting diversity and inclusion. As part of the WEE Initiative, Walmart sourced $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the U.S. and increased sourcing from women-owned businesses internationally. Additionally, in 2014, working with WBENC and WEConnect International, a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world, Walmart helped fund the creation of the “Women-Owned” logo which can be used by any woman-owned supplier certified by those organizations at any retailer to highlight their products to consumers. Today, Walmart has more than 1,500 suppliers who identify as women-owned businesses, producing everything from apparel to produce.
In addition to participating in this collective initiative, Walmart announced plans to launch a Knowledge Center that will house the key tools, resources, learnings and achievements of the WEE Initiative and help serve as a guide for any company or institution in their work to empower women. For additional details on Walmart’s Global WEE Initiative, visit http://corporate.walmart.com/womensempowerment.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.