- Dollar General published its new safer chemicals policy in its 2020 Serving Others Report. The company shared a copy of its policy with us in November 2019 in advance of publishing it. 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 noted Dollar General would tell its suppliers that it expected them to start reporting “full formulation data,” including fragrance constituents, to the company and that the company would urge suppliers to use safer alternatives to replace the chemicals on its beyond restricted substance list (BRSL). The company clarified that the disclosure policy applies to all generic ingredient components, not just fragrance constituents.
- At its May 2020 shareholder meeting, the company reiterated its commitment to the policy by stating: “we’re proud to have issued our new chemical policy in December of 2019 and will be revising the list of products and chemicals covered by this policy on an annual basis.” In February 2021, Dollar General also reported strong metrics on the implementation of its disclosure policy, and indicated it was screening ingredients in brand-name products for its BRSL chemicals as well.
Recommendations for Dollar General
- 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 specifically eliminate and safely replace any toxic indirect food additives in food-contact materials, covering at least the classes listed above that may be in food packaging or other food-contact materials in its supply chain, especially considering that its DG Home™ Premium Paper Plates products are now partly made of compostable sugarcane.
- The company should eliminate plastics of environmental health concern (PEHCs) from its product and packaging materials and take swift action to eliminate and safely replace key chemicals of concern from the beauty products of environmental justice concern that it sells. Dollar General should publicly disclose the alternatives used to replace chemicals of high concern (CHCs) or PEHCs after eliminating them.
- Dollar General should develop and implement strong accountability measures and publicly report on progress in implementing its policy (beyond the disclosure portion of its policy). The company should also become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers.
How does Dollar General compare to its competitors?
Analysis of Dollar General
Policy:Adopted a retailer safer chemicals policy
Oversight: Established management responsibilities and incentives
Accountability: Ensures supply chain accountability
Disclosure: Requires suppliers to report use of chemicals in products to retailer
Action: Reduced or eliminated chemicals of high concern (CHCs) or plastics of environmental health concern (PEHCs) within the last three years
Safer Alternatives: Evaluates safer alternatives, avoids regrettable substitutes
Transparency: Demonstrates a commitment to transparency and public disclosure
Chemical Footprint: Evaluates its chemical footprint
Third-party Standards: Promotes credible third-party standards for safer products
Joint Announcement: Public commitment demonstrated through joint announcement
Continuous Improvement: Shows continuous improvement by steadily expanding safer chemicals policy
Collaboration: Actively participates in collaborative process to promote safer chemicals
Impact Investment: Investing financial resources into independent research into safer alternatives and/or green chemistry solutions