The nation's largest retailer announced Monday that it will be delivering produce from farms to stores faster by buying fruits and vegetables directly from growers.
The plan is to source about 80 percent of fresh produce directly, explained Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of the food business for Wal-Mart U.S., during a conference call that we participated in Monday morning.
In many instances, Sinclair says it will be possible to "cut out the middleman," but he added that local wholesalers will continue to "play an important role for us in the areas we serve."
Wal-Mart says it has drafted its own plan for improving safety at garment factories in Bangladesh rather than join other Western retailers in a legally binding agreement to pay for improved conditions for workers in the South Asian country.
This week, major retailers including Wal-Mart, Gap and others met with labor activists in Germany, hoping to hammer out a deal to improve working conditions in Bangladesh.
The meeting came less than a week after a devastating building collapse in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, killed more than 400 workers. At the meeting, activists pushed retailers who use factories in Bangladesh to start spending their own money to make those workplaces safer.