Why Wal-Mart needs partners for global development work

Most of Wal-Mart’s work on issues related to global development, especially related to its supply chain, is done through partnerships.

“We partner, honestly, when we can’t do it ourselves,” Sarah Thorn, the company’s senior director of international trade, said during an interview with Devex Impact at the 2013 Business Civic Leadership Center’s annual corporate social responsibility conference.

For instance, Thorn mentioned Wal-Mart’s sustainable agriculture program, which has pledged to train a million farmers  half of which will be women within five years in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

USAID brings expertise, training and people on the ground, and Wal-Mart provides the training and information about crops and growing cycles and ultimately buys the products, she explained.

“In partnership with USAID we can work together to reach larger numbers, more effectively, at a more cost efficient price,” said Thorn. “That kind of really good partnership where we’re each doing what we really do best is the kind of partnership we like best.”

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About the author

  • Saldiner adva

    Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is an Associate Editor at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.