Wal-Mart has been removed from the Domini 400 Social Index citing research by the National Labor Committee documenting that-* Wal-Mart’s “Kathie Lee” goods were made by 13 year olds in Honduras, forced to work 13 hours a day under armed guard;* Wal-Mart goods were made by workers in China held under conditions of indentured servitude, beaten and paid 3 cents an hour; * Wal-Mart Canada purchased clothing from factories operated as joint ventures with brutal military and drug lords, where workers were paid 7 cents an hour and would be tortured if they tried to defend their most basic rights; * Attempts by shareholders including the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility to work with Wal-Mart to clean up its contractors’ factories in Central America by opening those plants to independent verification by local, respected human rights and religious organizations have been rejected by Wal-Mart.Given Wal-Mart’s lack of responsiveness on these issues, Domini felt it had no other option but to drop Wal-Mart from its socially responsible index fund. This makes Wal-Mart only the second company to be removed from the index fund for disregard for human and worker rights and payment of fair wages.
Gee, and I thought my one share in Wal-Mart was such a socially responsible investment. Apparently Wal-Mart’s “Good.Works” campaign did not work with the Domini Fund. I guess being bumped from a list of socially responsible investments makes Wal-Mart socially irresponsible. That seems fitting, since Wal-Mart basically avows any responsibility for working conditions at its vendors’ factories. Contact www.nlc.org for more details on the Domini Fund decision, and the latest in “sweatin’ with Wal-Mart.”