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Engaging Retailers in the Adoption of Safer Products

Background

Retailers play a key role in the supply chain as they are the interface between product manufacturers and customers.  They face many challenges in gathering information about chemicals in their products, determining whether any 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 for safer products.

Current Project

In 2013, the GC3 is convening a Retailer Leadership Council (RLC) composed of a select group of retail leaders who are pro-actively working to: understand what chemicals are in their products, engage their suppliers in improving chemicals management, find safer alternatives to chemicals of concern, develop and implement chemicals policies, and educate their customers.  Members of the RLC have significant decision-making responsibility related to supply chains or product formulation at their firms (are generally at the Vice President level).

The mission of this group is to promote safer chemicals, materials and products across retail supply chains. The RLC will work together to identify at least one project annually to support the Council mission and will reach out to engage and inform other retailers.

Past Accomplishments

For the last 4 years the GC3 has convened a project group focused on educating and engaging retailers in the adoption of safer products. Some key project deliverables include:

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, contact Sally Edwards or Amy Perlmutter.

Upcoming call information, call notes, and working documents are available to
members in the
GC3 Members Area.

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