For the third year in a row, the Mind the Store campaign has issued “Who’s Minding the Store?” Retailer Report Card. For the second year, in collaboration with the Getting Ready for Baby campaign, buybuy BABY and parent company Bed Bath and Beyond were included. Also for the second year, buybuy BABY received a grade of D+.
In years past, buybuy BABY had regular progress in restricting chemicals of concern in products. They moved before any legal requirements, and go beyond legal requirements to restrict flame retardants, vinyl, phthalates, heavy metals like lead and cadmium, and more. But their pace of action has slowed, and the kinds of actions retailers are taking has shifted.
This year, the Retailer Report Card recognized buybuy BABY competitors has having made significant advancements: Target ranked #2 with a A grade for “expanding its policy and reporting specific reductions.” Walmart, previously ahead of Target, ranked #3 with an A-.
Target adopted a Restricted Substances List (RSL) and Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) for textiles (adopting the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals - ZDHC MRSL). They provided guidance to suppliers for disclosing ingredients in formulated products. They publicly reported on removing specific chemicals of concern in beauty and personal care products. They launched a new Wellness Icons program to identify product free of certain chemicals of concern.
In 2017, Walmart committed to reducing its consumables footprint for Walmart US and Sam’s Club US by 10%, which translates into a reduction of 55 million pounds. Since 2014, Walmart has reduced use of “high priority”chemicals by 96% by weight.
Some relevant key findings of the Retail Report Card’s assessment of 40 companies this year (including new restaurant and grocery chains):
1. Retailers continue to drive toxic chemicals out of consumer products. Examples include actions to remove methylene chloride and NMP in paint strippers, phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde in personal care products, and oxybenzone in sunscreens.
2. Leading retailers continue to strengthen or adopt new chemicals policies. Companies with the greatest improvement are Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Amazon. Target, Lowe’s, Costco, Kohl’s, and Sephora also reported major gains.
3. Retailers are aligning around a common list of chemicals of concern. Several thousand chemicals are being screened, and whole classes of chemicals, such as phthalates and per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are being phased out.
We urge buybuy BABY and its parent company Bed Bath and Beyond to learn lessons from their competitors to protect the babies and toddlers who use buybuy BABY-sold products from chemicals that can harm their health.
Check out the full Retailer Report Card here.