The sheer scale of Walmart’s supply chain is hard to comprehend.
By the retail giant’s own count, it involves some 100,000 suppliers. If truly understanding the size of that network of manufacturers, distributors, subcontractors and so on is difficult, monitoring the goings on of each firm in detail is truly daunting. Yet a decade and a half ago, Walmart was doing less than many of its peers to monitor its suppliers for labor abuses.
In 2006, the sovereign wealth fund of a country known for its own happy workers concluded that Walmart was contributing to human rights violations around the world, both in the retailer’s own operations and in its massive supply chain.