Greenpeace activists converged in Fayetteville, Arkansas this week to call attention to global human rights abuses and environmental damage caused by retail giant Walmart ahead of the company's annual shareholders' meeting.
The environmental group flew its thermal airship over the company's world headquarters in Fayetteville on Wednesday, displaying banners that read, "Walmart: Cleanup needed in the tuna aisle," and "Save oceans. Protect workers," a reference to the company's sale of canned tuna brands that Greenpeace says are destructive and unethically produced.
Those include Great Value and Chicken of the Sea, both sold by Walmart and manufactured by Thai Union—which has been linked to the use of slave labor on its suppliers' fishing boats, which catch forage fish in Thailand to make pet food and livestock feed bound for American retailers.
Moreover, the methods involved in catching fish for the world's largest tuna company result in overfishing and high levels of "unintentional bycatch."
"Walmart can no longer hide the very real threat of labor abuse and ocean destruction with its insufficient policy statements and greenwashing," said Greenpeace senior oceans campaigner David Pinsky. "Shareholders and customers now know that Walmart is ignoring the possibility of horrific abuses of workers throughout its supply chain as it continues selling cheap canned tuna from seafood predator Thai Union."
Also in Fayetteville for the meeting this week was the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, likewise calling on Walmart to end its participation in human rights abuses and to provide a living wage for its own employees.
"Walmart is the world's largest retailer," said Randy Parraz, UFCW campaign director for Making Change at Walmart. "It is unacceptable that some workers in the U.S. are paid so low they struggle to put food on tables and workers in Thai Union's supply chain abroad are subject to abuse. Walmart can and should do better."