In its 2020 environmental, social, and governance report, US retailer Walmart reported a 1% increase in its footprint of priority chemicals (PCs) used across its product inventory. The company has set a target of reducing this footprint by 10% by 2022 (FPF reported), and previous reporting had shown the company has been expanding its efforts related to use of safer chemicals (FPF reported). News provider Chemical Watch reported that this 1% increase reflects a change between the years 2017 and 2018, and a representative from Walmart commented that this was due to an increase in the products sold containing the priority chemicals.
The time required to obtain and analyze data from suppliers was cited as being the reason for the delay in reporting the change. Suppliers report the priority chemicals contained in their products to a third-party database, and Walmart does not receive information on which priority substances are contained within each product. “The aggregate data that we received [from the database] has the volume weight of PCs by [product code or UPC] at a department level, not the chemicals in each product. This information helps us to prioritize conversations with our suppliers … encouraging [them] to work on reducing their chemical footprint,” a spokesperson for the company told Chemical Watch. The company says it is analyzing the latest chemicals data from 2018 and 2019 and plans to publish these results later this year.
Walmart (2020). “2020 Walmart Environmental, Social & Governance Report.”
Leigh Stringer (September 15, 2020). “Walmart reports 2017 increase in use of ‘priority chemicals’.” Chemical Watch
Mike Schade (October 6, 2020). “Retailers taking action on toxics: Target & CVS make progress, Walmart slides backward.” Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families