Lowe’s Companies, Inc., headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, is a major home improvement retailer, with over 1,700 stores and 2011 U.S. retail sales of $49,282,000—the 8th highest, nationally.[1] Lowe’s sells a wide range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling, and home decorating. Each store stocks approximately 40,000 items, with tens of thousands more available through special order and online platforms.[2]

With great market power comes great responsibility.

While we appreciate the steps Lowe’s has taken to promote energy and water conservation and to improve sustainability across their supply chain, there is still so much more that Lowe’s could be doing to eliminate dangerous chemicals from the market place. Chemicals commonly used in building materials, furnishings, and consumer products have been linked with chronic diseases and health conditions, including cancer, reduced fertility, learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems, obesity, and diabetes. Some examples include phthalates used in vinyl plastics and chlorinated and brominated flame retardants used in furniture and textiles.

Sure, identifying, evaluating, and avoiding hazardous chemicals is a complex challenge for companies as large as Lowe’s—but just imagine the challenge that customers face each day as they try to navigate their way around thousands of product choices that may contain harmful chemicals. Lowe’s has the power to relieve this burden and to protect their customers, their stakeholders, and the environment.

We are calling on Lowe’s to work with their suppliers to reduce, eliminate, or safely substitute the Hazardous 100+ chemicals.


What is Lowe’s doing to get tough on toxics?

Internal Policy on Chemicals?

Lowe’s most recently available corporate responsibility report (2011) and web site (as of April 2013) do not contain an explicit chemicals policy or any goals to restrict the use of hazardous chemicals in the products they sell.[3] Lowe’s sustainability policy says they will strive to “Provide customers with environmentally-responsible products, packaging and services…”[4]

Pesticide Alternatives Information

The Lowe’s website provides information to help customers reduce dependencies on pesticides, and offers a range of products supporting integrated pest management.[5]

Streamlining Safety Data

Lowe’s, along with The Retail Industry Leaders Association, The Home Depot, Target, Walmart, and other retailers, recently rolled out an initiative designed to streamline the process used by suppliers and retailers to exchange chemical and product information.[6]

In their own words…

“Developing our approach to sustainability has given us the opportunity to look beyond the traditional supply chain and focus on the entire product life cycle. A product’s life cycle begins with sourcing the raw material that goes into the product all the way to the end of product life disposal issues.”[7]
– Lowes, 2008. Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Sources:

[1] National Retailers Federation, 2012. “2012 Top 100 Retailers.”


[2] Reuters, 2013. “Lowe’s Companies Inc Profile


[3] Lowe’s, 2011. “Social Responsibilty.”


[4] Lowe’s 2013. “Lowe’s Policy on Sustainability.”


[5] Lowe’s, 2013. “Pesticide Alternatives.”


[6] Environmental Leader, 2013. “Walmart, Lowe’s Develop Chemical Reporting Tool.”


[7] Lowes, 2008. “Corporate Social Responsibility Report.”