Every year, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families’ Mind the Store campaign evaluates and grades chemical policies and practices of North American retail chains in a report card. Today, the new report card was published and it shows overall improvements in how companies are embracing chemical safety policies to help protect consumers from toxic chemicals in products.
Here are three findings from this year’s Mind the Store report card:
1. Significant improvements over the years
The fourth annual retailer report card is the largest-ever analysis of its kind, evaluating 43 retail chains with more than 190,000 stores in the United States and Canada.
Overall, dramatic improvements in companies’ chemical policies are shown. 63% of the evaluated companies have improved over the past year, and the average grade of the eleven retailers who have been evaluated since the start has moved from D+ to B-. The average grade of all 43 retailers was a C-, as compared to last year’s D+.
Roger McFadden, Senior Scientist for McFadden and Associates, comments on the new report card, saying: “This new report highlights a growing sustainability trend and call to action for consumer brands, product designers and the chemical industry. Retailers are increasingly stepping up to drive harmful chemicals out of consumer products, packaging, and global supply chains”.
2. Four retailers continue to lead the pack
For the second year in a row, Apple, Target, Walmart and IKEA lead the pack by receiving the highest grades for their work to protect customers from toxic chemicals in their products, with grades ranging from A- to A+.
“Kudos to these four companies for taking corporate responsibility towards protecting their customers from hazardous chemicals. We’re especially glad to see that the two companies from our Business Group that have been evaluated have both received the highest grade”, says Theresa Kjell, Senior Business and Policy Advisor at ChemSec.
The most improved companies are, however, Ahold Delhaize, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dollar General, Lowe’s, Panera Bread, Sephora, and Staples. Dollar General has, for example, launched a new chemicals policy banning eight toxic substances in private-label beauty, personal care and household cleaning products.
3. Some retailers failed to score a single point
One-third of all retailers received an F grade for failing to adopt basic chemicals policies to address toxic chemicals in their products.
Although last year almost half of the companies received F scores, the result still shows the need for serious improvements among some retailers. In fact, nine companies failed to score a single point this year, and eight of those failed to do so for the second time in a row.
The worst performing sector was restaurants, with an F grade average for six retailers, including McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks.