Walmart ScandalThe Walmart (WMT) bribery scandal has shined a harsh spotlight on corporate misdeeds.

A media firestorm erupted following allegations this week that the world's biggest retailer's Mexican division bribed government officials to secure building permits in the country, as reported in The New York Times.

But do shoppers really care about the integrity and moral compass of the stores they shop? Apparently, they do -- and increasingly so, says Carol Cone, managing director of brand and corporate citizenship for Edelman, the public relations firm. "In a world of radical transparency and 24/7 instant communications, what a company stands for and how it behaves is more important than ever," Cone told DailyFinance.

Edelman's goodpurpose study -- which explored consumers' attitudes about their expectations of brands and companies' commitment to social issues -- revealed, for one, that 87% of American consumers surveyed think businesses need to place at least as much weight on society's interests as they do on business interests.

And as the Internet has opened up seemingly limitless shopping options, consumers turned off by a firm's corporate behavior can now "easily protest by shifting their spending dollars elsewhere," says Brian Schaffer, vice president of mergers and acquisitions and crisis communications for CJP Communications, a public relations and investor relations firm.

While one can never really know the possible shenanigans brewing behind the scenes at any given company, there are ways to probe the policies and track record of your favorite stores and brands to shed light on questions like: What are a company's business ethics? Is there a history of corporate improprieties? What's their track record on issues like labor and human rights or the environment? Does the company do right by their employees, the communities they serve and consumers? And are their political leanings in line with mine?

If you subscribe to the theory that we all vote with our dollars, everyday consumers can consult these eight sources (cited by Cone and others) to vet the brands they buy and the stores they shop.

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Wayne Bradshaw

Beijing policy makers say they're eager to encourage greater domestic consumption. Chinese shoppers are famously luxury-happy, flying to Hong Kong and further afield in droves to stock up on Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and more. All of which means the stage is set for the next great innovation to hit China: Louis Vuitton Outlet malls.

May 06 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne Bradshaw

You can take the kids to Legoland or the Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium at Grapevine Mills, and pick up a nice new purse at the same time. A Coach Outlet Store Online opens Friday in the mall's Neighborhood 2, Space 209A, near Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.Hours for the Coach Outlet are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The mall is at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway in Grapevine.Go to to check out what's in stores now and sign up for email deals.

May 05 2012 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just why are these thiings referred to called "corporate misdeeds?" Just where is the outcry against the govermental "misdeeds" that rule in Mexico at all levels?

Just why don't some of you bleeding heart liberals/progressives try to stop the obvious?


May 02 2012 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Past participle of shine in this usage is shone, not shined.

May 01 2012 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You would think our Government would police itself before it would take shots at Wal-Mart. It has been and is now common practice for military contractors, with our money in disguise, to bribe their way into the political and social structure of various countries, establish a connection, and with it, creating a better chance of keeping the contracts. Many of the contracts are Cost Reimbursable plus a Profit Margin, allowing a lot of room for fraud. At least Wal-Mart makes money instead of wasting tax payer’s dollars.

May 01 2012 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm shocked ......... SHOCKED ........... you need to bribe government officals in Mexico to get their approval to operate a business.

May 01 2012 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to z4rock's comment

"100 American I not write you ticket.

May 01 2012 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This whole big thing is a contrived attack on every day business practices all over the world and especially in Middle America, South America,and of course Mexico. Bribery to get faster action or special treatment by companies and wealthy individuals is standard operating procedure. No bribery in America ? Well ask the Obama election teams both in 08 and now. Acorn which should have been dead and buried is still at it signing up voters and getting signatures by any means necessary but mostly illegal. This time the black kettle is calling all other color pots crooked.

April 30 2012 at 8:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Americans pretend not to understand that in some countries, bribery is what to take to do business. You want to do it or somebody else will, simple is that. There is nothing to do with the quality of goods, service, or nothing much matters. You don't bribe, you do not even open your door. Rather than letting some other stores open, why not letting American stores open?

April 30 2012 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Me and Maxine Waters had lunch together today dears. We starting arguing over who was more unethical me or her. I think it is me darlings. Insider trading, illegals working in my vineyards, and I even bribed members of my own party to force through Obamacare. How shameful.

April 28 2012 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

WalMart is included in anybodys portfolio, whether that be mutual funds, corporate bonds, etc. Do you have a 401K, IRA, or some other retirement instrument? So, they being for the "rich stock holder" is largely a myth. My reason for not shopping there is very, very few products they sell say Made in U.S.A. But my main beef with them is all the WalMart e mails showing the cliente they let in the door. Would send you links [if I knew how], but would rightly get busted for gross obscenity, or causing someone to commit suicide.

April 28 2012 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply