A worker delivers groceries to a customer’s vehicle outside a Walmart Inc. store in Amsterdam, New York, on Friday, May 15, 2020.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Walmart said on Wednesday that it plans to support U.S. manufacturers by spending another $ 350 billion over the next decade on items manufactured, grown or assembled in the United States.
According to a company spokesman, nearly two-thirds of Walmart’s current range is manufactured, assembled or remodeled from the past financial year.
With the move, the retailer said U.S. products would become an even bigger part of its supply chain. It focuses on purchasing more materials and merchandise from local manufacturers, including plastics, textiles, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, food processing and small electrical appliances.
As the largest revenue giant in the world, Walmart has faced criticism from advocates and others for lowering prices in a way that raises more oversight of manufacturing and jobs. The company responded in 2013 by buying $ 250 billion worth of US goods by 2023. Wednesday’s announcement is an increase in commitment.
Over the past few years, Walmart has created new ways for U.S. suppliers to pick up through its stores and websites, including an annual Open Call event where small businesses can store their products. It also created a website where Walmart suppliers can learn how to bring their operations back to the US
However, the company also faced investigation. In 2015, it dropped a “Made in USA” logo on products, after an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission and a watchdog group found that the items were not manufactured by the US. The company now describes the percentage of a product manufactured in the US on its label.
Walmart CEO John Furner said in a report on the company’s website on Wednesday that the effort benefits the environment and economy. He said it would reduce the company’s carbon footprint by bringing goods closer to customers, creating demand for more U.S. jobs and providing the opportunity for more U.S. entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers or sellers.
According to Furner, the increased spending could support more than 750,000 new U.S. jobs, based on a Walmart study with Boston Consulting Group, which uses data from the Economic Policy Institute and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And, he added, the decision responds to what customers want. More than 85% of consumers surveyed by Walmart in 2019 said it was important for the retailer to include products made or assembled in the US.
Furner said Walmart will also launch a new program called U.S. Lighthouses, which will bring together stakeholders in different parts of the country to find ways to overcome barriers to U.S. production. He said participants would include suppliers, government officials and academic experts who could suggest ways to support and expand U.S. manufacturing.