Retail Initiatives on Safer Products

The GC3 “Engaging Retailers in the Adoption of Safer Products” Project Group (Retailer Group) has developed an inventory of initiatives and organizations relevant to retailers that are advancing sustainability with a focus on safer chemicals and products. The GC3 Retailer Group developed this inventory to understand the landscape of activities in this area.

Some sector-specific projects exist that are supporting retailers in advancing safer chemicals and products throughout supply chains. However, these tend to be projects that are part of organizations or initiatives that are more broadly addressing sustainability in retail or manufacturing industries.

Below is a summary table of the twelve initiatives/organizations reviewed:

For GC3 members, the companion document is available in the GC3 Members Area. For non-GC3 members, please contact us.

Name of Group


Can Retailers Participate?

Who’s Involved?

Industry Sector

Projects that Address Toxics in Products

AFIRM (Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Working Group)

Manage restricted substances in the apparel and footwear industry globally


Manufacturers and retailers

Apparel and footwear sectors

  • RSL Toolkit based on the AAFA RSL and Implementation Guide

BizNGO (Business – Non Governmental Organization) Working Group


Promote the creation and adoption of safer chemicals and sustainable materials


Businesses, government agencies, NGO's, retailers and universities

All sectors downstream of chemical manufacturers

  • Guiding Principles for Chemicals Policy and Implementation Guide
  • Policy Initiatives for Advancing Safer Chemicals  and Sustainable Materials
  • Biospecs Project for Biobased Tableware

BSR (Business for Social Responsibility)

Guide global companies toward creating a just and sustainable world through their CSR efforts


Businesses, NGOs, retailers and universities

All sectors

  • Mills and Sundries Working Group

Ceres (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies)

Integrate sustainability into day-to-day business practices


Businesses, investors, NGOs and retailers

All sectors

  • Footwear and Apparel Initiatives

ChemSec (International Chemical Secretariat)


Strive for a toxic free environment by 2020 through promoting concepts of precaution, substitution, polluter pays and right to know


Associations, businesses and retailers

All sectors

  • ChemSec Business Group
GAFTI (Global Apparel, Footwear and Textile Initiative)

Bring the apparel, footwear and textile industries together globally to improve efficiencies and set standards

Yes Associations, brands, manufacturers, mills, retailers, and testing and compliance firms Apparel, footwear and textile sectors
  • Product Safety Committee
  • Sustainability Committee

GPR (Green Products Roundtable)

Bring more clarity to the green products marketplace


Certifiers, distributors, educators, manufacturers, researchers and retailers

All sectors

  • Framework for Differentiating Green Products
  • Organizational Practices Matrix


OIA (Outdoor Industry Association)


Ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry throughout the supply chain


Distributors, manufacturers, retailers,  sales representatives and suppliers

Outdoor industry sector

  • Eco Working Group (Eco Index)

RILA (Retail Industry Leaders Association)


Collaborate with a network of retailers on five core issues:  supply chain,  asset protection, finance, human resources, and enterprise issues


Manufacturers, retailers and suppliers

All sectors

  • RSI Sustainability Working Group

SAC (Sustainable Apparel Coalition)


Develop an industry-wide index for business to use to measure and evaluate apparel and footwear product sustainability performance


Brands, government agencies, manufacturers, NGOs, retailers and universities

Apparel and footwear sectors

  • The Sustainable Apparel Index

TSC (The Sustainability Consortium)


Build the scientific base for understanding environmental and social impacts of products throughout their life cycles


Government agencies, manufacturers, NGOs, retailers and suppliers

All sectors

  • The Measurement Sciences Working Group
  • Sector Working Groups (some are addressing toxics in products)

GCN (Green Chemistry Network)

Facilitate education, training and practice of Green Chemistry in industry, commerce, government, academia and schools through a worldwide network


Associations, manufacturers, NGOs, retailers and universities

All sectors

  • Green Chemistry and the Consumer Project