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Business Issues: Sustainability, Labor and Quality Case Study

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The way REI addressed sustainability/environmentalism and the concept of over-consumption as part of this corporate initiative

REI addressed environmentalism and over-consumption as part of its corporate initiative in several ways. For instance, they buy electricity that is purely induced, and they have introduced such programs that reduce air contamination. They have planned to become fully environmentally aware by rejecting the idea of landfill waste and operating in green buildings that effectively consume energy. Also, they try to use paper wisely and, in general, emphasize the necessity of being eco-friendly in their marketing strategy.

In October 2015, REI announced that all 143 stores would be closed on the “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving) to allow their staff and customers to spend the day outside the shop (“OptOutside” par.1). Even though their initiative was authentic, it can be perceived as a strategic marketing maneuver for several reasons. The retailer invited its staff and customers to spend time without shopping using the hashtag #OptOutside in social media (interestingly enough, 1200 employees were paid for their work on that day).

After collecting more than 5.5 million active participants, REI was able to boost their profit so that it has exceeded $2 billion compared to the US “Black Friday” in 2014 (Ahuja, Varun and Arrawatia 409). It was the most profitable occasion in the top ten highest-grossing sales days. Thus, in addition to the increased profits, REI used the retail attention to “Black Friday” to determine their real brand value.

Walmart’s Labor Issues

One of the problems associated with the Walmart workforce was the issue of employment of illegal workers. Initially, the company denied employing the illegal immigrants arguing that the staff in the shops was selected by the contractors that complied with all the laws and hired the legal workers under the terms of the social contract (Carroll and Buchholtz 491).

However, the investigation has shown that more than 300 illegal workers were employed in the company and had been engaged in unskilled labor (Copeland and Labuski 80). The solution to this problem lies at the very basis of the legal use of the labor force. On the one hand, to ensure that similar incidents will no longer happen, Walmart should work with subcontractors who will assist in the registration of workers in the corresponding bureaucratic bodies (Lichtenstein 320).

On the other hand, the company can protect the domestic labor market by setting a higher salary level. Thus, the inevitable consequence will be the increase in the competitiveness of the local population. Therefore, the protection of the economic and social rights of migrant workers, in turn, will have the effect of protecting the domestic labor market. Also, the company can take foreign workers with the requisite specificity for a definite term contract. This practice can be an effective tool in solving the problem.

Walmart’s response to product and service quality and safety

Walmart’s response to product and service quality and safety is a sensitive topic as scandals concerning the quality of products in the past have repeatedly occurred (Roberts and Berg 141). For example, some time ago, Walmart announced the resignation of Ed Chan claiming that the decision was not associated with a scandal erupted over the security of the sold goods in a network of food stores. In particular, the public discontent was caused by cases of detection of poisons in baby food as well as the sale of dangerous vegetable oil.

Also, Walmart Stores agreed to pay a fine to California for the infringement of rules of storage and disposal of products as well as wastes containing hazardous substances. Thus, the company pays insufficient attention to the issue (Carroll and Buchholtz 410). To solve this problem, the company should collaborate with retailers and manufacturers to reduce costs and increase sales by improving the efficiency, product protection, sustainability, and security of commodities in the entire supply chain.

Works Cited

Ahuja, Narwnder, Varun Dawar, and Rakesh Arrawatia. Corporate Finance, New Delhi: PHI Learning, 2015. Print.

Carroll, Archie, and Ann Buchholtz. Business and Society: Ethics, Sustainability, and Stakeholder Management, New York, Cengage, 2015. Print.

Copeland, Nicholas, and Christine Labuski. The World of Wal-Mart, New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Lichtenstein, Nelson. Wal-Mart, New York: The New Press, 2013. Print.

2015.

Roberts, Bryan, and Natalie Berg. Walmart, London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2012. Print.

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