Ahold Delhaize, the parent company of many familiar supermarket chains, including Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Giant, and Hannaford, earned a letter grade of C-, which reflects a significant improvement from its F grade in 2018. The company scored 39.25 out of 146.5 possible points, ranking 22nd out of the 43 retailers evaluated this year.
This improvement was driven by the retailer’s September 2019 announcement of a new safer chemicals policy called its Sustainable Chemistry Commitment. This policy, which applies to the products and packaging of all it private-label items (including those in grocery, baby food, infant formula, and formulated laundry, home and personal care, cosmetic, and baby products), includes a beyond restricted substance list (BRSL) that, according to the retailer, prohibits the use of many priority chemicals of high concern (CHCs), including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), bisphenols, and phthalates. Parts of this policy will come into effect in 2020, and the retailer has committed to expanding its efforts through steps such as participating in the Chemical Footprint Project that will likely improve its score in future report cards.
Opportunities for improvement: Ahold Delhaize can continue to make progress by adding greater specificity to its safer chemicals policy to more clearly address how suppliers will be held accountable, how chemical ingredients are to be disclosed to the retailer, and how suppliers evaluate and implement safer alternatives to CHCs. Additionally, the retailer can increase transparency by making its BRSL public, increasing the disclosure of full chemical ingredients on labels, and providing quantifiable public metrics. Efforts the retailer has started with its private label suppliers should also be replicated for branded products it sells.
Summary of Ahold Delhaize’s Grade
7.5 out of 17.5 points
Policy: Adopted a retailer safer chemicals policy
Ahold Delhaize has not set public quantifiable goals for reducing and eliminating CHCs as part of its policy, does not apply the policy to its operations nor to all locations, and does not have a manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL).
5 out of 5 points
Oversight: Established management responsibilities and incentives
3.75 out of 12.5 points
Accountability: Ensures supply chain accountability
0 out of 13 points
Disclosure: Requires suppliers to report use of chemicals in products to retailer
0 out of 16 points
Action: Reduced or eliminated chemicals of high concern (CHCs) within the last three years
2 out of 13.5 points
Safer Alternatives: Evaluates safer alternatives, avoids regrettable substitutes
6.25 out of 18 points
Transparency: Demonstrates a commitment to transparency and public disclosure
Ahold Delhaize’s new policy notes that it is “expanding the ingredient information provided to consumers, beyond what is required by law,” but the retailer has provided no specific detail on what this means or if it meets any of our criteria for transparency.
2.25 out of 7.5 points
Chemical Footprint: Evaluates its chemical footprint
0 out of 8.5 points
Third-party Standards: Promotes credible third party standards for safer products
2.5 out of 5 points
Joint Announcement: Public commitment demonstrated through joint announcement
5 out of 15 points
Continuous Improvement: Shows continuous improvement by steadily expanding safer chemicals policy
5 out of 5 points
Safer Products: Program to promote safer products in stores and/or on website
0 out of 5 points
Collaboration: Actively participates in collaborative process to promote safer chemicals
0 out of 5 points
Impact Investment: Investing financial resources into independent research into safer alternatives and/or green chemistry solutions