Is Walmart Going Chemical-Free?


It sure seems that way. The world’s largest retailer recently asked suppliers to remove eight major chemicals from their products. While this should come as no surprise – in 2013, Walmart announced that it would be asking suppliers to reduce certain substances from their personal care, beauty and cleaning products – it’s certainly a big step on the retailer’s part. Walmart came up with a definitive list of veto-d chemicals with help from the Environmental Defense Fund and aims to get suppliers to find alternatives for their products.

“The chemicals on the list include certain properties that can affect human health or the environment,” Walmart explained in their statement last week. While the list currently only consists of eight substances, these are considered high-priority and are some of the most common chemicals found in household goods. Among them, are formaldehyde, a carcinogen found in cosmetics and triclosan, a chemical found in soaps and toothpaste that is said to alter hormone regulation. This new policy has already affected about 90,000 products made by 700 different manufacturers sold in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the US.

It’s undeniable that this push for sustainability is a direct reflection of consumers’ gradual shift towards chemical-free products. Today’s shoppers demand transparency from the brands and retailers they frequent and want to make informed decisions regarding the products they buy, right down to the packaging. Even investors are taking a closer look at the health measures taken by companies they back, a move that not only reduces “reputational and liability risk” but allows them to “reap financial benefits from growing consumer concern about chemical risks,” according to Richard Liroff, who runs the Investor Environmental Health Network.

One thing’s for sure, we’re excited to see what sort of ripple effect this move will have on the retail industry.

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