Wal-Mart's low prices haven't helped it gain a high perch in the public's esteem. At least, that's the conventional wisdom. Critics accuse the retail giant of destroying neighborhoods, exploiting its workers and discriminating against female employees. But when American consumers were asked to name a U.S. company that was socially responsible, they named Wal-Mart above all others.It's funny that three of the corporations that activists target most seem to be so popular. Then again, it shouldn't be surprising considering that when corporate social responsibility advocates move to defend the rights of all sorts of disparate stakeholders, the company's actual customers tend to be overlooked.
The retail giant trounced second-place McDonald's (yes, McDonald's). In fact, 28% of consumers picked Wal-Mart Stores as the most responsible company, compared with 17% for McDonald's and 16% for third-place Microsoft.