Letter grade = B
Total points = 78.5 out of 130
Wal-Mart Stores (Walmart and Sam’s Club) earned a grade of B, scoring 78.5 out of 130 possible points, the highest score of any retailer evaluated. Walmart developed a “Sustainable Chemistry Policy” in 2013 and “Sustainable Chemistry Implementation Guide” in 2014, and for the first time reported significant progress in implementing its policy in the summer of 2016. Walmart has developed a list of 16 “High Priority” chemicals and more than 2,000 “Priority” chemicals of concern that it challenges suppliers to reduce and eliminate. The company states in its policy: “All suppliers are expected to reduce, restrict and eliminate use of priority chemicals using informed substitution principles.” The policy applies to cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products, infant products, and pet supplies. In October 2016, Walmart unveiled its “Sustainable Packaging Playbook,” which also encourages suppliers to identify, restrict and remove its priority chemicals from packaging, and also avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) plastic, in packaging.
Opportunities for improvement: Walmart can continue to improve its safer chemicals program by setting public quantifiable goals with clear timelines for reducing and eliminating chemicals of high concern, continuing to annually report on progress in implementing its policy, expanding its list of High Priority chemicals to tackle a broader list of chemicals, and expanding the policy to other chemically intensive product categories such as apparel, electronics, and furniture. Walmart should become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers.