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GC3 Retailer Leadership Council

Purpose

The GC3 Retailer Leadership Council (RLC) was formed in December 2013 to promote safer chemicals, materials and products across retail supply chains.

RLC members include: Best Buy, CVS Health, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Staples, Target, and Walmart. 

Current Initiative

RLC Joint StatementSince 2014, the RLC has been engaged in a dialogue with five major chemical manufacturers including Akzo Nobel, BASF, Chemours, Dow, and Eastman. 

Retailers of consumer products often receive questions and feedback from customers regarding the safety and identity of chemicals in consumer products. In order to effectively address these questions and concerns from their customers, since spring 2014, thought leaders from seven major retailers and five major chemical manufacturers have been in dialogue about improving product sustainability and finding ways to accelerate the development and scale up of green chemistry solutions as well as increase transparency in the value chain.

Retailers have shared feedback from their customers including their concerns about hazardous chemicals in products and their priorities and needs for safer products.

Chemical manufacturers have shared publicly available information on their research, development, and commercialization processes, their processes for evaluating product safety and sustainability, the types of information they need to make the business case for pursuing green chemistry solutions, and their challenges in bringing these alternatives to market.

Each of the companies involved is on its own journey and at different stages in its product sustainability program. All share a commitment to having an open dialogue around five key areas to promote green chemistry research, development, and adoption.

As a result of these discussions, the group has prepared the Joint Statement on using Green Chemistry and Safer Alternatives to Advance Sustainable Products.

Background on GC3 Retailer Work Group

Retailers play a key role in the supply chain as the interface between product manufacturers and customers.  They face challenges in gathering information about chemicals in products, determining whether ingredients are of potential concern to human health and the environment, and finding safer alternatives to ensure that the products they source and sell are effective and meet customer demand.

Understanding the unique position of retailers in the supply chain, the GC3 formed a Retailer Work Group in 2009 to better understand challenges and opportunities for retailers in promoting safer chemicals, materials, and products.

To serve the needs of this group the GC3 prepared the report Best Practices in Product Chemicals Management in the Retail Industry, created the Retailer Portal: Tools to Evaluate Chemical Ingredients in Products and held two national meetings for retailers in 2011 and 2013.

Following the Second National Summit for Retailers, the GC3 Retailer Leadership Council (RLC) was created. The RLC is composed of a select group of retail leaders who are working proactively to:

  • develop and implement chemicals policies
  • understand what chemicals are in their products
  • engage their suppliers in improving chemicals management
  • identify and implement safer alternatives to chemicals of concern
  • educate their customers 

Retailer Tools for Safer Chemistry

The Retailer Portal: Tools to Evaluate Chemical Ingredients in Products was created in 2011 as a database of tools retailers can use to evaluate chemicals and products for potential human health and environmental impacts and identify safer chemicals, materials and products.  It is currently being updated and will be relaunched in 2016 as Retailer Tools for Safer Chemistry.

Past Accomplishments

Best Practices in Product Chemicals Management in the Retail Industry.  December 2009. This document provides guidelines to retailers for developing product chemicals management systems. These guidelines were developed based on interviews with a cross section of retailers who have these systems in place.

Product Chemicals Management for Retailers: Moving Beyond Compliance Toward Safer, Less-Toxic Product Lines.  May 2011. This 1st national summit for the retail sector was convened to discuss drivers for safer products, challenges and opportunities to enhance product chemicals management, and systems to manage chemical ingredients in products.

Retailer Portal Database: Tools to Evaluate Chemical Ingredients in Products and its companion document was completed in September 2011. This is a database of tools retailers can use to evaluate chemicals or chemical?containing products for potential human health and environmental impacts and identify safer chemicals, materials and products.

Retailer Chemicals Policy Efforts showcases policies many retailers have developed to address chemical hazards in products as part of their sustainability initiatives; and Retail Initiatives on Safer Products is an inventory of initiatives and organizations relevant to retailers that are advancing sustainability with a focus on safer chemicals and products.  These projects were completed in December 2011.

GC3 2nd National Summit for Retailers.  May 2013. This meeting included sessions on: drivers for safer, greener products and the retailers’ role in promotingthis transition; tools for retailers to assess, select, and specify safer chemicals and products; effective communication with customers about safer, greener products; and, retailer challenges in working with global supply chains to improve chemicals management.

 

For more information on the GC3 Retailer Leadership Council, contact Sally Edwards.