Asia holds great potential for retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, which is why a company official said they are investing time and money within its burgeoning Asian-Pacific business.
Scott Price, CEO of Walmart Asia, spoke at an APEC Summit in Bali on Sunday (Oct. 6). APEC is the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation that works to improve trade and commerce within its Asian country membership.
During his speech, Price reportedly said Wal-Mart is in talks with its Indian partner Bharti over the next few weeks about how to proceed with expansion in India. But the majority of Price’s comments were related to the retailer’s ongoing work throughout the vast region.
"Wal-Mart is making strong progress in APEC markets as we continue our global growth. Many of the key priorities of the APEC forum are strikingly similar to those of Wal-Mart,” Price said.
For example, Price said supporting the economic empowerment of women, increasing the speed and efficiency in both the supply chain and sourcing operations, adding new stores and infrastructure and playing a leadership role in food security and sustainability are all shared goals.
In addition to his role at Wal-Mart, Price also serves as chairman for the National Center of APEC, a post he was elected to in May.
"One of the key overriding themes APEC economies strive for is sustainable and inclusive growth, which is something that Wal-Mart not only relates to, but very much strives for too, Price said.
He outlined the progress Wal-Mart is making in several improvement initiatives within APEC countries.
1: Women's empowerment
Wal-Mart has supported the training of 26,000 women for factory jobs in markets including China, Bangladesh and India. The retailer also have been training 500,000 female farmers in China, Latin America and India.
With over 8,000 of its stores in APEC economies, Wal-Mart has made sizeable investments in infrastructure, such as distribution centers and related logistics, across the markets in which it operates. The company employs over 1.8 million people in APEC member states, equal to more than 80% of its global workforce.
3: Food security
In China, as part of a sustained effort to ensure the safety of its fresh and packaged food products, Wal-Mart China launched the mobile lab program, a first of its kind initiative that outfits customized vans with highly advanced food safety inspection technology, and staffs them with specialists trained in food science and technology, biology, chemistry and agriculture. The program has served 33 stores in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan and is now being extended to cover more than 70 stores across all of Guangdong Province.
4: Environmental sustainability
In Asia, through energy reduction initiatives, the sourcing of renewable energy and the training of its associates on energy best practices, Wal-Mart stores in China and Japan reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 11.3% and 20% respectively in 2012 compared to a 2005 baseline.