Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc is to increase pressure on suppliers to be more accountable for factory standards.

Wal-Mart made the decision in response to increased US public expectations, chief executive H Lee Scott Junior was cited by Associated Press as saying at a business conference.

Wal-Mart has been slammed repeatedly for deploying allegedly low standards at its factories in order to keep its prices low.

However, the company said it would now pay more attention to suppliers and cooperate with them to ensure adequate social and environmental standards at factories.

But workers' rights campaigner, Paul Blank of Wake-Up Wal-Mart, said: "Unfortunately, Wal-Mart's exploitation of workers is not limited to its use of sweatshop labour overseas.

"Our campaign is building a sea of public pressure to force Wal-Mart to end its race-to-the bottom business model", Blank said, and added that the problem of sweatshop factories was only the first in a long list of issues needing to be addressed.

Scott also said Wal-Mart will begin selling apparel created from organic cotton next year as a push to be more environmentally friendly.