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2010-12-09

After Touting Sustainability, Walmart Chair Rob Walton Refuses to Answer on Company’s Record in Local Communities

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Rob Walton, the chairman of Walmart, traveled to Cancún this week to take part in Wednesday’s event promoting the controversial carbon market-based forest protection proposal known as REDD. Walton is the eldest son of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and one of the wealthiest men in the world. He said sustainability has become a key issue for Walmart, but then refused to answer a question from Democracy Now! on his company’s effect on small businesses in local communities. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Rob Walton, the chairman of Walmart, traveled to Cancún this week to take part in Wednesday’s event promoting REDD. Walton is the eldest son of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, and one of the wealthiest men in the world. He said sustainability has become a key issue for Walmart.

ROB WALTON: We made a commitment recently to — I’ll go a little broader and then come back — three areas for sustainable agriculture, which is one of our initiatives. And one of them is to support farmers and their communities, and another is to reduce waste in the agricultural supply chain and help growers produce more food with fewer resources. And the third area is to focus on sustainable — sustainably sourced key agricultural products.

AMY GOODMAN: After Rob Walton, the chair of the board of Walmart, spoke, Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke attempted to question the Walmart chair.

MIKE BURKE: Mr. Walton, can I ask you a question?

ROB WALTON: Yeah.

MIKE BURKE: From Democracy Now! radio and TV in New York.

ROB WALTON: No, no, no.

MIKE BURKE: Just one question, sir.

ROB WALTON: No, no, no.

MIKE BURKE: "Sustainability" seemed to be the key word today of your address. And I’m wondering — talk about economic sustainability in what you do to small businesses.

WALTON’S ASSISTANT 1: Sorry, sorry. He’s had a long day.

WALTON’S ASSISTANT 2: Let him be. Let him be. Come on, let him be.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the attempt was made. That was Mike Burke questioning — attempting to question Rob Walton, the chair of the board of Walmart, here in Cancún.

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