- Nordstrom is largely failing to publicly address toxic chemicals that may be in the products it sells.
- Nordstrom received credit for adopting the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) restricted substance list for its store-brand apparel. The list goes beyond regulatory compliance, so it effectively functions as a beyond restricted substance list (BRSL). The company also offers 50 brands of sustainable apparel products. Some of these comply with sustainability standards that restrict chemicals of high concern (CHCs). The company has a goal to ensure that 15% of its product assortment qualifies for Sustainable Style by 2025, but Nordstrom has not publicly defined how the criteria for Sustainable Style include restricted substances.
Recommendations for Nordstrom
- Nordstrom can make progress by developing a public written safer chemicals policy and setting public quantifiable goals with clear timelines for reducing and eliminating CHCs and/or plastics of environmental health concern (PEHCs). The company should clearly define Sustainable Style in terms of safer chemicals and make that information accessible to consumers.
- We urge the company to eliminate and safely replace any per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), toxic flame retardants, and phthalates that may be in apparel and other products it sells and eliminate plastics of environmental health concern (PEHCs) from its product and packaging materials. Nordstrom should take swift action to eliminate and safely replace key chemicals of concern from the beauty products of environmental justice concern that it sells. The company should publicly disclose the alternatives used to replace CHCs or PEHCs after eliminating them.
- The company should become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers.
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How does Nordstrom compare to its competitors?
Analysis of Nordstrom
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