Walmart & the Environmental Defense Fund

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I usually don’t shop at Walmart because I figure that their super-cheap products are costing someone. Just the name Walmart brings up images of a young girl at a sweatshop, or a disgruntled employee protesting for a better wage. But, I do think it is important to give credit where credit is due, especially when a giant corporation is taking steps in a better direction.

In partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund as well as other vendors and non-profit advisors, Walmart has created a policy for the chemical intensive products they carry both at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. Just a few days ago they sent out letters to their suppliers about their new chemical policy.

The policy will first focus on phasing out a list of priority chemicals.

Walmart defines a priority chemical as one that “meets the criteria for classification as a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant, or is persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic; or any chemical for which there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.”

By next year, suppliers have to disclose their ingredients in an effort “transition to safer chemicals or non-chemical alternatives”. Suppliers will also receive incentives to move away from using priority chemicals.

Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive along with frontrunner Seventh Generation are leading the way in “tackling the challenges”.

“Walmart is not trying to become the next Whole Foods or your local co-op. Its chemicals policy is designed for a mainstream market… (this) is precisely why (it) is such a big deal: because no one should have to choose between a safe product and one they can afford.”

From article: Walmart Puts Consumer Product Suppliers on Notice: The Chemical Phase-out Starts Now By: Michelle Mauthe Harvey and Sarah Vogel on edf.org

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