In 2006, Wal-Mart conducted more factory audits than any other company in the world, at 8,873 factories producing goods for Wal-Mart, 15 percent more than in 2005, according to the company’s 2006 Ethical Sourcing report (PDF). Unannounced audits made up 26 percent of the audits undertaken, a six percent increase over 2005. High risk violations of the Wal-Mart Standards for Suppliers code decreased 23.5 percent in 2006, mainly due to educational outreach, according to the company.
Program enhancements detailed in the 2006 report include the expansion of environmental elements into supplier factory audits to include waste identification, waste handling and disposal, wastewater treatment and discharge, and air emissions. Auditors now discuss environmental findings with factory management as part of the audit closing meetings to educate them on the new criteria and on environmental sustainability. In addition, Wal-Mart now includes environmental training in group training sessions for new and existing suppliers.
In 2006, over 200 Ethical Standards associates were located in five regions around the globe: Southeast Asia; the Indian subcontinent; the Far East; the Americas; and the Middle East, Africa and Europe.