Dollar General earned a letter grade of D, which reflects a significant improvement from its F grade in 2018 and 2017. The company scored 30 out of 146.5 possible points, ranking 27th out of the 43 retailers evaluated this year.
In November 2019, Dollar General shared with us a copy of its written safer chemicals policy that it plans to publish in 2020. The policy includes a commitment to eliminate eight chemicals from Dollar General’s private-label formulated products in the home cleaning and beauty & personal care categories by December 2022. The policy also includes expectations for suppliers on reporting chemical ingredient information to Dollar General and states a future preference for safer alternatives to the 8 chemicals on its beyond restricted substance list (BRSL).
Opportunities for improvement: Dollar General can make progress by expanding its BRSL beyond eight chemicals to chemicals including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), toxic flame retardants, and phthalates, and by expanding the policy to apply to packaging and operations. We also urge the company to eliminate and safely replace any toxic indirect food additives in food contact materials, with special attention paid to any bisphenols and PFAS that may be in food packaging and other food contact materials as well as any phthalates in food and food contact materials in its supply chain. Dollar General should also develop and implement strong accountability measures and do more to encourage, or ideally require, suppliers to publicly disclose the ingredients in their products. The company should also become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers.
Summary of Dollar General’s Grade
10 out of 17.5 points
Policy: Adopted a retailer safer chemicals policy
This policy references a BRSL of eight chemicals: formaldehyde, toluene, triclosan, nonylphenol ethoxylates, butylparaben, propylparaben, trichloroethylene, and triclocarban and notes that Dollar General will require these chemicals to be eliminated from the target product categories by December 2022. The company will also encourage national brand suppliers of products in these categories “to reduce or eliminate their use of the Chemicals in products sold to Dollar General.” Dollar General pledged to “[r]eview and evaluate the list of products and chemicals covered by this policy on an annual basis.”
Dollar General does not have any locations outside the U.S.
Dollar General does not have a publicly available manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL), and the policy does not appear to apply to operations or packaging.
2.5 out of 5 points
Oversight: Established management responsibilities and incentives
The company does not appear to offer financial incentives for senior management to implement its safer chemicals policy.
1.25 out of 12.5 points
Accountability: Ensures supply chain accountability
Dollar General has not specifically disclosed that it trains suppliers on the company’s safer chemicals policy or reporting requirements, that it requires suppliers to conduct testing in third-party laboratories and provide results to the retailer to ensure conformance with the policy or that it conducts its own testing to ensure suppliers comply with the policy.
3.5 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
4.5 out of 13.5 points
Safer Alternatives: Evaluates safer alternatives, avoids regrettable substitutes
3.25 out of 18 points
Transparency: Demonstrates a commitment to transparency and public disclosure
Dollar General’s new safer chemicals policy states that the company intends to “[e]ncourage core private label suppliers in the [home cleaning and beauty & personal care] departments to improve transparency with consumers regarding the ingredients in their products.” Partial credit is awarded as it is unclear how far this will promote the public disclosure of ingredients in products online or on product packaging or lead to the public disclosure of the identity of articles or formulated products that are free of CHCs going beyond regulatory compliance.
Dollar General’s website sells a small number of private-label products that are “paraben-free” and/or “triclosan-free,” but the number of products is too minimal to receive full credit for the 1.5-point level.
0 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
0 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
0 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