September 25, 2022

A worker delivers groceries to a customer’s vehicle outside of a Walmart Inc. store in Amsterdam, New York on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Walmart said Wednesday that it plans to help American manufacturers by spending an additional $ 350 billion on items made, grown, or assembled in the United States over the next decade

According to a company spokesman, nearly two-thirds of the current Walmart range has been manufactured, assembled or grown in the US since last fiscal year.

With the move, the retailer said US products will become an even bigger part of its supply chain. It will focus on buying more materials and goods from local manufacturers, including plastics, textiles, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, food processing and small electrical appliances.

As the world’s top-selling retailer, Walmart has been criticized by advocates from Workers and others for lowering prices in a way that encourages more manufacturing and jobs overseas. The company responded in 2013 by pledging to buy $ 250 billion worth of U.S. goods by 2023. Wednesday’s announcement is an increase in that commitment.

In recent years, Walmart has created new opportunities for American suppliers to get picked up from its stores and website, including an annual Open Call event where small businesses can showcase their products. A website has also been created so that Walmart suppliers can learn how to bring their operations back to the US

However, the company has also been scrutinized. In 2015, a “Made in USA” logo was placed on products after an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission and a monitoring group found the items were not made in the US. The company now lists the percentage of a product made in the United States on its label.

In a post on the company’s website on Wednesday, John Furner, CEO of Walmart US, said the efforts will benefit the environment and the economy. He said this will reduce the company’s carbon footprint by sourcing goods closer to customers, increasing demand for more U.S. jobs, and creating the opportunity for more American entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers or sellers.

Furner said the increased spending could support more than 750,000 new American jobs, based on a Walmart study with the Boston Consulting Group that used data from the Economic Policy Institute and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And he added that the decision was in line with the wishes of the customers. More than 85% of consumers surveyed by Walmart in 2019 said it is important for the retailer to have products made or assembled in the United States

Furner said Walmart will also start a new program called American Lighthouses, which will bring together stakeholders in different parts of the country to find ways to break down barriers to US manufacturing. Attendees included suppliers, government officials, and academic experts who can suggest ways to support and expand U.S. manufacturing.