A first-of-its-kind report just came out ranking and grading our largest retail stores: Who’s Minding the Store? – A Report Card on Retailer Action to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals.” We are midly surprised at some of the ratings.
While we love to support small, community businesses, we also realize large retailers create an enormous ripple each time they raise their standards. Every push of progress forward they make extends up a supply chain, shifting their vendors and manufacturers.
We aren't to the finish line yet of this race, this report provides us some insight on how to use that powerful pocketbook of ours to support and lead. Thankfully, there are retailers taking significant steps to increase the safety of the products they sell – including Target, CVS and Best Buy.
Target: B (76.5) Target recieved a pretty darn good grade based on the calculations. What boosted their ranking? Recently they have:
1) Added cosmetics to the categories of products covered by its policy;
2) Expanded the list of chemicals subject to its policy to include chemicals banned in cosmetics in the European Union and Canada;
3) Significantly improved its evaluation of suppliers’ transparency practices, particularly a new way for Target to evaluate fragrance ingredients against its restricted substance list; and
4) Added new criteria pushing suppliers to publicly disclose their fragrance palette, allergens in fragrance, and nanomaterials.
CVS Health: C (53) A 'C' isn't anything to be particularly proud of, but if we are focusing on a shift...
CVS Health has become the first pharmacy chain in the country to become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project. Additionally, CVS Health has pledged to publicly disclose its restricted list of chemicals in 2017. (We will be watching!)
Albertsons: F (12.5) Ouch.
One of the largest supermarket chains in the country, Albertsons, who is also the parent company for Shaws Supermarket in New England, received the grade of F.
Amazon: F (7.5) Surprised? A little bit.
Amazon received the lowest grade of any retailer evaluated. Meanwhile, Amazon’s market share is rapidly growing and the company is projected to soon be the biggest retailer of apparel and electronics in the U.S. They just announced they are doubleing down on “frustration-free packaging,” using recyclable cardboard and excluding internal boxes and the plastic casings found around batteries, and switching wrapping paper to reusable organza bags. Some bright ideas and progress. Maybe they are on the right track and need a bit of a nudge in other important values?
Quick Scan of Other Grades:Walmart Stores (Walmart and Sam’s Club): B (78.5)
Best Buy: C- (41)
The Home Depot: D+ (35.5)
Lowe’s: D (29.5)
Walgreens: D (29.5)
Kroger: D- (15.5)
Costco: F (9.5)
Retailers were graded on a scale of 0 to 130 points, and a corresponding letter grading scale was developed to match the points. Grades were assigned based on publicly available information concerning retailer policies and self-reported information concerning retailer practices.
We Celebrate Movement Forward.
We acknowledge that sometimes there isn’t a perfect product option, free from all ingredients that are questionable. Sometimes we strive to identify an alternative product, which is a better option than the one you might be using now. It's not a this-or-that choice, but a presentation of alternatives that look more like stairsteps. ( This is one of five of Savvy Women's Alliance's Nuggets of Savvy Wisdom. )