Over the last year, despite a global pandemic and economic downturn, major retailers reported substantial progress in restricting hazardous chemicals such as PFAS and in improving their safer chemicals policies. Below, we highlight the most substantive updates made by the 50 retailers we evaluated since November 2019.
|7-Eleven||7-Eleven began to reduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in packaging.|
|Ahold Delhaize||Ahold Delhaize evaluated its chemical footprint via the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) survey.|
|ALDI||ALDI evaluated its chemical footprint via the CFP survey.
ALDI also adopted new restrictions for chemicals used in the manufacturing of its apparel by setting new chemical restrictions on wastewater and sludge.
|Amazon||Amazon announced that it will ban certain toxic chemicals and plastics in the food packaging used for its Amazon Kitchen brand. PFAS, ortho-phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols, as well as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and expanded polystyrene (EPS) are among the chemicals and plastics now restricted in certain private-label food-contact materials.|
|Apple||In 2020, Apple released a list of chemicals it restricts in “materials in prolonged skin contact in wearable and non-wearable products,” focused on skin irritants and sensitizers.
The company also made progress assessing and approving new safer cleaners and degreasers for use in its supply chain. Apple also contributed to other companies’ efforts to use safer cleaners.The company set a goal to eliminate all plastics from its packaging by 2025 and reported progress toward that goal.
|Bed Bath & Beyond||The company made progress in eliminating chemicals of concern in its private-label baby personal care products in 2020.|
|Best Buy||Best Buy reported that it phased PVC out of gift cards sold in U.S. stores and online in November 2019. The company also publicly released the list of chemicals it is restricting in products and manufacturing as well as the chemicals it is requiring suppliers to disclose.|
|Chipotle||Chipotle phased out the use of PFAS from its molded fiber bowls in 2020.|
|Costco||Costco announced it is working with Scivera to evaluate the hazards of chemical ingredients in all formulated products (such as cleaning and beauty products) as well as other product categories, using the SciveraLENS software platform.|
|CVS Health||CVS Health banned all bisphenols from thermal receipt paper in 2020.
The company is currently considering chemical restrictions for adult care, feminine care, oral hygiene, and personal intimacy items. It also anticipates expanding its restricted substance list to limit PFAS in its spring water products.
CVS Health also completed its reformulation of nearly 600 private-label beauty and personal care products and removed two chemicals of concern from sunscreens.
|Dollar General||Dollar General officially published its safer chemicals policy and beyond restricted substance list (BRSL) in 2020. The company also disclosed strong metrics on the implementation of its disclosure policy focused on suppliers of own-brand formulated products, and indicated it was also screening ingredients in brand-name products for its BRSL chemicals.|
|Dollar Tree||Dollar Tree became a signatory to the CFP, participated in the CFP survey in 2020, and reported that it completed the phaseout of priority chemicals from its “active” private-label products.|
|IKEA||In 2020, IKEA phased out titanium dioxide from its children’s art products. The company also eliminated propiconazole as a preservative in outdoor wooden furniture.|
|Kohl’s||Kohl’s made significant improvements to its safer chemicals policy, adding new chemicals to its BRSL, making its BRSL public for the first time, and expanding the scope of its private-label textile products covered by OEKO-TEX certification.|
|Kroger||Kroger adopted and began implementing a new restricted substance list for its private-label apparel brands.|
|Loblaw||Loblaw announced it is banning bisphenols in thermal receipt paper. The company completed the transition to BPA-free pouches and tubs for certain infant formula.|
|Lowe’s||Lowe’s became the first major retailer to announce it will no longer sell fabric protection sprays containing PFAS.|
|McDonald’s||McDonald’s announced it was banning all added PFAS in guest food packaging materials globally by 2025.|
|Office Depot||Office Depot newly published its BRSL that restricts PFAS, flame retardants, and many phthalates and updated its chemical policy. The company plans for its BRSL to apply to more cleaning products in 2021 and committed to expand the BRSL in the year ahead by 10-20%. The company also pledged to increase the number of disinfectants it sells that are free of quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) and sodium hypochlorite (bleach).|
|Panera Bread||Panera Bread has eliminated PFAS from most to-go food packaging.|
|Restaurant Brands International (RBI)||The company committed to phase out expanded polystyrene foam in food packaging by 2021.|
|REI||In fall of 2020, REI brought to market “our first flame retardant-free tent since before it became the norm many years ago for outdoor brands to apply flame retardant finishes to tents.”
REI announced that it is restricting PFAS in all ski wax products and gear and clothing treatments supplied to REI by spring 2023.
REI’s Sustainable Chemistry Guide and BRSL were also updated in the last year.
|Rite Aid||Rite Aid launched and published a BRSL for its own-brand food-contact materials. The company will also require suppliers of own-brand formulated products to disclose all generic ingredients such as fragrance ingredients to Rite Aid by the end of 2023. The company additionally stated that in 2021, “Rite Aid plans to expand its restricted substance list to include toxic chemicals in beauty and personal care products marketed to women of color.”
The company reported new metrics indicating close to full compliance with its 2020 elimination commitment as related to its own-brand products. The company stated it was at 98% compliance as of the end of November 2020. This is progress from 2019, when 93% complied.
|Sephora||Sephora publicly documented significant process in 2020 in implementing its safer chemicals policy. The company reported quantified reductions in chemicals of high concern (CHCs), increased participation from branded products, and significant efforts to work towards safer alternatives. Sephora is working with ChemFORWARD to help increase access to information on the hazards of alternatives and with Novi Connect to use artificial intelligence to help identify safer alternatives.|
|Target||In 2020, Target announced it was eliminating bisphenols in thermal receipt paper. The company also expanded its policy to address PFAS as a class in textiles and has begun to make progress on flame retardants in children’s car seats. Target evaluated its chemical footprint via the CFP survey.
Target also shared that in the year ahead, it will evaluate how its safer chemicals policy addresses chemicals of concern for beauty products marketed to women of color.
The company also announced that it will “(w)ork toward elimination of the following problematic plastics in owned-brand packaging: polystyrene, PVC, PVDC and carbon black.”
|TJX||TJX announced that it is developing a new chemicals policy and disclosed that it includes plans to eliminate bisphenols in receipt paper at its cash registers at U.S. retail brands, switch to PFAS-free compostable food-service ware in its corporate cafeterias, and eliminate PVC from certain bedding packaging. The company is also developing policies around other product categories such as beauty products.|
|Trader Joe’s||Trader Joe’s announced that it is restricting a chemical of high concern from a major category of its own-brand products, and reported a new consumer-facing disclosure policy “for health and beauty products, household products…whatever is in there is listed on the label.”|
|Ulta Beauty||Ulta announced that it was launching a voluntary program called “Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty” for brand-name products to be certified as free from certain chemicals. Ulta is expanding this program and adding other chemicals to the program’s “Made Without List” to be effective in January 2022, with additional updates planned for later in 2022 and 2023.|
|Walgreens||Walgreens made progress in implementing its restrictions on chemicals in private-label products and met its commitment to list the ingredients in all owned-brand household cleaners on the labels.|
|Walmart||In January 2021, Walmart reported a 5% reduction in the use of toxic chemicals (by weight), or 10 million pounds, between 2017 and 2019 from beauty, personal care, and household cleaning products, among others. The company also disclosed a 24% reduction in the number of products (by UPC barcode) containing priority chemicals and a 6.15% reduction of the weight of “priority” chemicals as a proportion of total product formulation weight.
Walmart also evaluated its chemical footprint via the CFP survey.
|Whole Foods Market||Whole Foods Market stated it “discontinued or reformulated any food service packaging where it was disclosed or determined that PFAS may have been intentionally added,” and rolled out molded fiber plates and bowls in all prepared foods departments in the U.S. and Canada that do not rely on PFAS to achieve grease resistance.
The company also adopted a new restricted substances list (RSL) for “all Food Service and Exclusive Brand [food and non-food] packaging…that prohibits intentionally added PFAS, ortho-phthalates, bisphenols, heavy metals, perchlorate, benzophenone, and residual solvents” as well as arsenic. The company is “also implementing a policy to ban nonrecyclable materials, including PS, PVC, PVDC, polycarbonate” in Food Service and Exclusive Brand packaging.Whole Foods Market also completed the CFP survey in 2020 for all of its body care and household cleaning products and has become a signatory to the CFP.
|Yum! Brands||Taco Bell made a commitment that by 2025, “PFAS, Phthalates and BPA will be removed from all consumer-facing packaging materials.” In addition, Yum! Brands will phase out EPS foam packaging globally by 2022.|