This report was supported by a grant from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and produced through a collaboration between The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan and Oxford University Consulting. It examines the lessons learned from Walmart’s engagement of small producers in developing countries in two arenas. The first includes a series of efforts over the past ten years to incorporate smallholder farmers into Walmart’s agricultural supply chain. The second effort, Empowering Women Together, endeavored to sell handicrafts made by women-empowering cooperatives through Walmart.com.
Increasing the productivity of small producers and facilitating access to markets, are key pathways to sustainable, and scalable poverty alleviation in developing countries.
To facilitate the process of evaluating sourcing scenarios involving small producers, we have created the Sourcing Readiness Checklist. Using this checklist, organizations can consistently assess how each potential sourcing strategy scores across the 18 influencing factors that are associated with four performance factors.
This case explores Walmart’s experience in incorporating small producers (women-owned or women-empowering artisan enterprises, and smallholder farmers) into its global supply chains. The case is written from the perspective of Kathleen McLaughlin, the president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. This dual role gives her responsibility for exploring how best to link philanthropic activities with company resources to fulfill Walmart’s global social commitments while positively impacting business outcomes. The case opens with McLaughlin and her Walmart colleagues Kara Valikai and Chris Cochran contemplating the performance of both their Direct Farm and Empowering Women Together (EWT) programs, and how they might be enhanced going forward.
This case explores the evolution of the cross-sector relationship between Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2000-2015. It focuses on partnerships that sought to build the capacity of smallholder farmers in the developing world. The case explores the ways in which this collaboration came about, how it was supported by the partners, and the level of success achieved as measured by the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Walmart Foundation, and USAID. The case dilemma is to identify learnings drawn from these partnerships and determine how they can be applied to a more ambitious approach to collaboration. From Walmart’s perspective, further collaboration with USAID could result in a partnership strategy that yields both significant social impact and important business outcomes. However, the partnership model had to enable innovation and flexibility, while maintaining efficiency, sustainability, and scalability.