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Walgreens pledges to launch long-awaited chemical policy

January 11, 2018

Chemical Watch
By Tammy Lovell
Original article here

US pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance has announced it will launch its long-awaited chemicals management programme this year. The retail chain had been criticised by NGOs for failing to publish the programme, first announced in 2014.

In its latest corporate social responsibility report, WBA pledges it will publish a list of high priority chemicals of concern in its products and create an action plan for their management in 2018.

The programme will initially focus on the company’s own brand baby, personal care and household products. However, WBA will also publish a roadmap to extend the scope of its chemical management to other products in its portfolio. It intends to report on progress annually.

The report says that WBA has been acquiring tools over the last twelve months to trace the ingredients in its products and supply chain.

It is using the UL PurView platform, a system which helps businesses collect data across the supply chain and compare ingredients against sustainability standards.

“Building traceability into our supply chain will help us continue to review the substances in our products, such as chemicals,” the report says.

WBA is also preparing for compliance with the EU’s May REACH deadline to register substances, particularly in relation to cosmetics and hard goods, such as candles and makeup brushes.

‘Notable steps’

Last year, the WBA-owned pharmacy Walgreens received a D- grade in the Mind the Store report card – an NGO campaign that rates US retailers on their actions to eliminate chemicals in consumer products. Walgreens came 18th out of 30 stores, scoring just 21.5 out of 135 possible points.

Mike Schade of the NGO Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families – which runs the Mind the Store campaign – told Chemical Watch he was pleased the pharmacy was making progress towards a safer chemicals policy.

“We congratulate Walgreens for taking these notable steps and look forward to reviewing their chemicals management roadmap. We are pleased that the company has also committed to reporting on progress annually,” he said.

Mr Schade added that he hoped the chemicals action programme would “set clear metrics and timeframes for reducing and eliminating chemicals of concern in these and other product categories, and report on those metrics annually.”

He urged Walgreens to follow other retailers such as Target and Walmart – which scored high marks in the NGO report – by expanding the policy over time to include brand name products they sell and becoming a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project.


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