Seattle, WA – Just in time for the holiday shopping season, today the Mind the Store campaign released its second annual report card on toxic chemicals in consumer products, which found that one-third of 30 major U.S. retailers are leaders, but two-thirds remain serious laggards. The report, Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals, includes evaluations of nineteen retailers for the first time. Seattle-based retailer Costco improved its grade from last year to a C-. Seattle-based Amazon received a D-. Overall, eleven retailers evaluated in both 2016 and 2017 have showed substantial improvements in the past year, raising their grade from an average of D+ to C. Seven of these eleven retailers announced significant improvements over the last year alone by releasing new safer chemicals policies or initiatives: Albertsons, Best Buy, Costco, CVS Health, The Home Depot, Target, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director with Toxic-Free Future said, “We are pleased Costco announced a chemical policy and other actions to improve its grade from last year. With growing concern about the health impacts of dangerous chemicals, consumers want to assurances that items in their shopping cart won’t harm their family. It is critical that Amazon, with its importance in the retail sector, is working towards a safer chemicals policy. We hope that Amazon will announce a robust chemical policy and approach that propels them ahead of the competition.”
Apple, Wal-Mart Stores, CVS Health, IKEA, Whole Foods Market, and Target received the highest grades, scoring a B+ or above. These companies are setting the pace for the entire retail sector by making meaningful progress toward safer chemicals in products. Meanwhile the report reveals that some retailers like Amazon,Walgreens, and Staples are developing chemicals policies. Walgreens and Staples plan to launch their chemicals policies in 2018.
However, 70% of the retailers evaluated remain serious laggards, earning D’s and F’s, for failing to publicly announce basic safer chemical policies to ensure the chemical safety of their products and supply chain. Nine retailers received a failing grade of “F”: Ace Hardware, grocery chain owner Ahold Delhaize, Dollar General, Kohl’s, Office Depot, Sally Beauty, TJX, Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us, and Trader Joe’s. All of these, except for Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us, received 0 out of 135 possible points.
The report also found that, over the past three years, at least a dozen retailers achieved significant reductions or elimination of dangerous chemicals in the products they carry, far ahead of any government-imposed restrictions. Unfortunately, nearly one-half of the 30 retailers evaluated have not publicly reported any progress in reducing or eliminating chemicals of concern over the past three years.
For a full list of the retailers with their letter and corresponding number grades along with the methodology used, please go to: RetailerReportCard.com. This new, interactive website enables users to view and sort retailers by their grades and consumer product sector. Consumers can also use the report website to email and “Tweet” to companies, urging them to improve.
Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, and report co-author said, “We are thrilled that major retailers like Walmart, CVS Health, and Target are driving a race to the top to eliminate dangerous chemicals that threaten our families’ health. At the same time, far too many are lagging behind, failing to meet the rising consumer demand for healthy products. This holiday season, retailers should give us the gift of a toxic-free future.”
Mike Belliveau, co-author of the report and Executive Director of Environmental Health Strategy Center, said “Retailers remain on the frontline of consumer discontent with the chemical safety of everyday products. The good news is that some are making the grade, but too many are failing to take the most basic public steps to eliminate dangerous chemicals from the products they buy and sell.”
Jose Bravo, Coordinator of the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, said “It’s disappointing to see the nation’s largest dollar store chains got low or failing grades on hazardous chemicals in their products, but it probably isn’t surprising to many people. When consumers start to expect your products to be dangerous it should serve as a wake-up call that more is needed. It’s time for Dollar General and Dollar Tree to join other major retailers and enact broad corporate policies to protect their shoppers’ families from toxic chemicals, especially because many dollar store shoppers can’t always afford to make safer choices.”
To evaluate retailers’ policies, the Mind the Store campaign, the Getting Ready for Baby campaign, and the Campaign for Healthier Solutions collected and reviewed publicly available information about corporate safer chemicals programs, and shared draft findings with retailers to provide them an opportunity to review the conclusions, disclose additional information, and make new public commitments towards safer chemicals.