The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

To sign-up to receive the CSR Newsletters regularly during the fall and spring academic semesters, e-mail author David Chandler at

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Strategic CSR - Walmart

The article in the first url below is interesting not because of the antagonism a local community expressed towards a proposed new Walmart store (Chapter 3: The Walmart Paradox, p102), but because of the lengths to which the local legislature went to prevent the store from opening:
“Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it was scrapping plans to build three stores in Washington, D.C., after the city's council passed a bill late Wednesday that would require big retailers to pay starting wages that are 50% higher than the city's minimum wage. … Wal-Mart had warned in an op-ed article in the Washington Post on Tuesday that it would pull out of the city if the District of Columbia's council passed the bill, called the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013.”
In particular:                                                        
“The bill requires retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and with stores of at least 75,000 square feet to pay workers starting salaries of no less than $12.50 an hour. The city's minimum wage is $8.25. The measure includes an exemption for unionized businesses and gives existing big stores, which include Target Corp. and Macy's Inc., four years to comply.”
I am trying to decide whether I am happy at a stakeholder taking a stand and forcing its values onto a firm, or suspicious at a highly interventionist piece of government legislation that is designed to target a particular organization. Ultimately, as noted in the article in the second url below, short-term political considerations (local jobs generation and tax revenues) outweighed the community’s longer-term and less easily-quantifiable concerns (the decline of independent stores and community identity) as the Mayor of Washington DC vetoed the legislation in September:
“Wal-Mart, which had threatened to abandon its plan should the bill become law, issued a statement after Gray’s veto last week that it would proceed with plans for at least five stores.”
Supporters of the legislation among Council members reiterated their concerns against Walmart and pledged to continue the fight elsewhere:
“The bill had become part of a national campaign against the proliferation of low-wage jobs, and it has become entwined locally with Wal-Mart’s plans to open several stores in the city. … ‘This is really about what kind of economic development strategy we want in this city,’ said Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), a supporter of the bill. ‘Creating low-quality jobs, in my view, is not a good economic-development strategy.’”
Take care
David Chandler & Bill Werther
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site:
Strategic CSR Simulation:
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at:
Wal-Mart Scraps D.C. Store Plans
By Ann Zimmerman
July 11, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final
D.C. Council fails to override ‘living wage’ veto, paving way for Wal-Marts
By Mike DeBonis
September 17, 2013
The Washington Post