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Chemicals Markets

Walmart asks suppliers to stop using eight chemicals; seeks alternatives.

Walmart Sign photo courtesy of Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube.The worlds largest company by revenue, retail giant Walmart has asked its suppliers to remove high priority chemicals from their products as it attempts to eliminate controversial chemicals from its household goods. The chemicals on the list such as formaldehyde and triclosan include certain properties that can affect human health or the environment, Walmart said in a statement. The list, created in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, aims to get suppliers to find alternatives and is a boost for the bio-based chemicals industry, as the buying power of companies like Walmart is immense.

“Our goal is to reduce, restrict and eliminate the use of HPCs by using informed substitution principles. We have been asking our suppliers to reformulate their products to meet our expectations. When suppliers are unable to remove HPCs, we ask them to develop time-bound action plans to reduce, restrict and eliminate usage as well as to engage in broad stakeholder initiatives to work toward industry-wide solutions. To date, we have successfully removed 95 percent of HPCs by volume weight from the products we sell in Walmart U.S. that are in the scope of our policy.”

The chemicals on the Walmart list include:

  • Formaldehyde Used in building materials in composites, some household products like paint and glue, fertilizers and pesticides, and as a preservative in some medicines and cosmetics.
  • Triclosan An antibacterial agent found in toothpastes, detergents and surgical cleaning treatments.
  • Toluene Used in paint thinners, nail polish and fragrances.
  • Diethyl phthalate A synthetic substances typically used to make plastic more flexible and often found in food packaging, toys and toothbrushes.
  • Dibutyl phthalate A common plasticizer that began being phased out of nail polishes in 2006.
  • Nonylphenol exthoxylates Surfactants found in industrial cleaning products, paints and laundry detergent.
  • Butylparabens and propylparaben Preservatives found in a wide variety of personal care products and foods.

As of June 30, 2016, Walmart has 11,545 stores and clubs in 28countries, under a total of 63brands employing 2.2million employees.

Walmart added to the statement that; It’s clear that there is still plenty of work ahead, but we’re confident that we’ll continueto make progress in the coming years. We remain committed to our Sustainable Chemistry Policy as a means of improving our chemical footprint. We’ll refine and continue to measure our progress and pinpoint key opportunities for improvement.

In response to the Walmart announcement Bloomberg spoke toRichard Liroff, who runs the Investor Environmental Health Network. A decade ago, he worked on a shareholder resolution calling on Wal-Mart to identify and reduce dangerous chemicals and report on its progress.

Wal-Marts naming specific chemicals strengthens investors efforts to move major retailers and manufacturers to safer chemicals, to reduce reputational and liability risk, and to reap financial benefits from growing consumer concern about chemical risks, said Liroff, the groups executive director.

ASenior Representative of P&G, a major supplier to Walmart isconducting a ‘fire-side chat’ with Bio-Based World News Editor Luke Upton atBio-Based Livein San Francisco onSeptember 26-27 2016, and will be joining fellow experts including representatives from Matter Unlimited, Genomatica, Anellotech,Korres Natural Products,Braskem,Allbirds and many more

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