Loblaw Companies Limited earned a grade of C, the same letter grade that it achieved last year. The company scored 51.25 out of a possible 146.5 points, ranking 16th out of the 43 retailers evaluated this year.
Loblaw has a public safer chemicals policy that includes a beyond restricted substance list (BRSL) of three chemicals and applies to packaging as well as products. Loblaw’s statement on BPA states that the company is committed “to taking measured and educated steps to remove [ingredients of concern], where possible, from [its] products, and is transitioning formula, food and snack products to BPA-free packaging.” In its 2017 CSR report, Loblaw disclosed a goal of removing triclosan, phthalates, and plastic microbeads from household, beauty, and cosmetic products by the end of 2018 in the only two private-label product lines that carry these types of products – Life Brand and President’s Choice. The company reported progress on this initiative, stating that by the end of 2018, it had formulated all of its Life Brand and President’s Choice household, beauty, and cosmetic products without triclosan or phthalates. The company also reported that it continues to encourage suppliers to identify and eliminate phthalates that may come from other sources such as manufacturing equipment and packaging, as it did in 2017. The company also engages an advisory board of two experts to regularly provide input on matters related to the chemicals policy.
Opportunities for improvement: Loblaw can make progress by developing and publicly disclosing expanded BRSLs for a broader assortment of private-label and brand-name products in key product categories and by setting additional public quantifiable goals with clear timelines for reducing and eliminating chemicals of high concern (CHCs). In particular, we urge the company to remove all bisphenols, including BPA and BPS, from thermal paper receipts, and eliminate and safely replace any bisphenols and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that may be in food packaging and food contact materials as well as any phthalates that may be in food and food contact materials in its supply chain. Loblaw should become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers. Loblaw can also improve its score by enhancing transparency through disclosing fragrance ingredients for private-label and brand-name products online and on product labels.
Summary of Loblaw’s Grade
12.5 out of 17.5 points
Policy: Adopted a retailer safer chemicals policy
According to its BPA Statement from March 2016, Loblaw is working with suppliers on sourcing alternatives for BPA, focusing on products for infants, including formula, food and snack products. The statement reads: “The safety of the food and products we sell to Canadians is of the utmost importance to us. As a company, Loblaw has committed to reviewing ingredients of concern and to taking measured and educated steps to remove them, where possible, from our products … In particular, we have focused our efforts on products for infants, transitioning our formula, food and snack products to BPA-free packaging.”
Based on Loblaw’s 2017 CSR report and its 2016 statement on BPA, the company has a written safer chemicals policy applying to products and packaging, has set quantifiable public goals for reducing and eliminating CHCs in its products, and has developed a BRSL of three chemicals. Loblaw only has stores in Canada, and the policy appears to apply throughout Canada. The policy does not appear to apply to operations, and Loblaw does not have a publicly available manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL).
2.5 out of 5 points
Oversight: Established management responsibilities and incentives
6.25 out of 12.5 points
Accountability: Ensures supply chain accountability
Loblaw communicates its BRSL to all suppliers and requires vendors to confirm that products are formulated without the chemicals on Loblaw’s BRSL by completing a legally-binding Product Specification Sheet prior to the commencement of production. Loblaw does not train suppliers on its safer chemicals policy, but since its product technologists provide technical support to suppliers, partial credit is awarded.
2.5 out of 13 points
Disclosure: Requires suppliers to report use of chemicals in products to retailer
15 out of 16 points
Action: Reduced or eliminated chemicals of high concern (CHCs) within the last three years
0 out of 13.5 points
Safer Alternatives: Evaluates safer alternatives, avoids regrettable substitutes
7.5 out of 18 points
Transparency: Demonstrates a commitment to transparency and public disclosure
Loblaw Companies Limited does not appear to encourage or require suppliers to publicly disclose ingredients in products online or on product packaging and does not publicly disclose the identity of articles or formulated products that are free of CHCs going beyond regulatory compliance.
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
0 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
5 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