Our Company is convinced that we have embarked on the right path when we promote supply chain diversity. By working with us, our suppliers attain greater access to 2,069 million customers who shop in our stores. Supplier diversity for us means being able to provide better products and a broader selection that comes from the communities we serve.

We create economic opportunities for people and companies throughout the supply chain through programs that promote economic mobility for women; that supply development opportunities for local suppliers; and that help small companies grow. For said companies, access to any formal market requires installed capacity, access to capital, and compliance with specific requirements.

For this reason our development platforms are designed according to the nature of the suppliers so as to equip them with the know-how and the experience needed to become suppliers, to achieve permanence and sustainable growth with us, and to increase their capacity to grow into other markets.

Different studies show that women are the driving force for social and economic development. When investing in a woman, the impact goes way beyond just her. Women also make up the large majority of our customers worldwide. Therefore, the empowerment of women is not only doing the right thing, but for our Company it also means making smart business decisions.

Women-Owned Business is a global initiative launched in 2011, whose purpose is to empower businesswomen, provide them greater access to markets, and give them the tools they need to grow their enterprises. The goal in Mexico is to duplicate the volume of purchases made from women in 2016, as compared to figures from 2011. By the close of 2015, we have accomplished 98% of this goal.

Adopt a SME in Mexico is a program that seeks to support businesses through our Merchandising and Supplier Development departments. The program is a form of temporary support so as to help small-sized businesses increase their productivity, competitiveness, sales, and product positioning in our Self-service units.

The first generation consisted of 100 SMEs and concluded with 94% accomplishment of the initial goal of duplicating their sales within 18 months. We are currently working with the second generation, which includes 115 new suppliers. They are selected based on their innovation, cost competitiveness in the market, delivery capacity, compliance with legal, quality, and sanitary norms required for the product, and the sustainable practices aimed at improving the environment and their community.

In addition, the Company has specialized buyers who identify the best local products by region so as to include them in our stores. In 2015 we incorporated 41 new regional suppliers. Included among the list of benefits of pertaining to this program is the timely tracking of point of sale indicators, shared demos, and a course in Retail Link, among others.

Through our Program A Helping Hand, we have given direct support to 331 SMEs. Some 42 new suppliers were included, offering them business training in person and online. We have conducted six business sessions, through which information was provided on the requirements to become a Walmart supplier, and another session was held in Costa Rica in which different SMEs presented their products to the Commercial area. We sponsored SME Fairs for grocery products in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras; the results in sales growth were 300% in Guatemala and 200% in Honduras and El Salvador.

Small Supplier, in Mexico and Fertile Soil, in Central America are social programs for low-income farmers facing considerable difficulties, thus we help them develop diversified cropping techniques, based on the real needs of the market. We assisted 3,878 low-income growers this year by providing consultancy services on seed quality, soil use, crop yield and quality, efficient use of agro-chemical products, crop rotation, among other subjects.

The Small Supplier Program in Mexico also focuses on developing low-income manufacturers of related products made by hand; we help them by providing training, product advice, and we return 100% of the profits generated through the sale of their products. In 2015 we developed 19,947 suppliers and were able to add 55 products to our catalog for sale.

Each year we survey our large, medium, and small-sized suppliers in Mexico with a third-party questionnaire, thereby obtaining an annual indicator that ranks the Self-service and Sam’s Club divisions in the market. This survey helps us to identify key points for improving dialogue and commercial relationships, increasing efficiency, and achieving better execution in our units. Self-service was ranked #1 this year in the overall evaluation, and Sam’s Club rose five positions, thus being ranked second in the survey. G4-PR5

The Supplier Advisory Board has allowed us to extend the dialog with our commercial partners, especially regarding the Consumer, Grocery, Fresh, and General Merchandise divisions. The Board encompasses 14 companies in Mexico and 62 in Central America; the primary goal is to foster the exchange of ideas and establish collaborative working models that help to increase the competitiveness of our suppliers, all with the purpose of benefiting our customers.

There were 38 Top-to-Top meetings coordinated this year, with the participation of top management and our principal suppliers for Grocery, Fresh, and Consumables; the goal of these meetings is to review business performance and define new growth opportunities that guarantee compliance with annual agreements, opening the dialog towards better alignment with strategies amongst the companies involved.

In 2015 we reinitiated training sessions for suppliers in the basic tools of Walmart Systems in Central America, especially concerning the use of Decision Support System. We conducted 20 training sessions in the five countries, and 216 companies attended. Retail Link User Group (RLUG) sessions were conducted via videoconferencing. RLUG is a group of Walmart suppliers who meet periodically to learn about Retail Link and to share best practices.