Walmart joins Chemical Footprint Project to reduce toxic substances
"CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly included Costco within the list of retailers involved in the Chemical Footprint Project."
- Walmart has joined the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP), which seeks to eliminate dangerous substances from products available for consumer purchase, Bloomberg reports. It is the belief of the CFP that retailers' influence on suppliers can act as motivation for hazardous ingredient removal.
- The project involves a 20 question assessment that examines companies' policies toward the reduction of toxic substances.
- Clean Production Action formed the Chemical Footprint Project in 2014, as a response to demand by consumers and investors. Companies including Johnson & Johnson, HP, and Staples are already members of the Project.
Walmart's leverage with suppliers is well known, a fact that will no doubt further empower other members of the CFP. Target is another such member, having joined the CFP Steering Committee during its inception in 2014. Motivated by its involvement, early this year the company took action to eliminate Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) by 2020, and to discontinue textile products with perfluorinated chemicals or flame retardants by 2022.
According to the CFP, business leaders are choosing to act in advance of potential regulation to meet customers' demands to avoid chemicals of high concern within the supply chain. In Target's case, the company developed a Sustainable Product Index that scores suppliers on their ingredients and other factors, noting when manufacturers avoid listing full ingredients, instead relying on incomplete or evasive terms such as "active ingredients" only on product labels.
Ultimately, retailers engaging with CFP are aiming to increase supplier transparency. The addition of Walmart within the group could have the effect that certain toxins are eventually marginalized if not eliminated outright for good from products sold at most major retailers.
Follow Jennifer McKevitt on Twitter