“Some retailers are naughty and some are nice; some lead the market trend toward safer products and some lag behind.”
‘Retailer Therapy’ reflects critical market trends, showing which retailers are responding to the growing demand for safer personal care products, the fastest growing segment of the cosmetics market, which is expected to top $11 billion by 2016, due to rising consumer concern about hazardous chemicals in cosmetics.
The report very much puts the spotlight on retail giants like Walmart, Target, Macy's, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Kroger and Whole Foods Market.
"Retailers that sell personal care products are the gatekeepers of safety for their customers," said Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund.
"If the nation's biggest retailers commit to stop selling cosmetics with toxic chemicals linked to disease, manufacturers who want to keep selling to those retailers will comply,” she adds.
According to the CSC, there is a rich history of retailers using their purchasing power to effect positive market change; “When retailers said no to BPA in baby bottles or to old-growth lumber, the market responded," they give as an example.
Leading and lagging behind …
Whole Foods Marketis reported as being the leader by far, garnering nine out of a possible ten ‘kisses’ in the ranking, due to its policy of screening out more than 400 chemicals of concern from its premium products; offering an extensive range of safer alternatives; and communicating its safety commitments and progress clearly to the public.
Pleased with the ranking, Whole Foods issued a statement today announcing that it was proud and thrilled to be mentioned in the report in such high esteem.
"This validates both our team's hard work and that of the wonderful supplier partners we work with to deliver the absolute highest quality natural and organic body care products to our customers," says Jeremiah McElwee, executive Whole Body coordinator.
Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, garnering only one kiss, the CSC has placed Macy's, which stated that government regulations are adequate to address cosmetics safety and that it trusted its vendors to ensure the products the company sells are safe.
“The company has a very limited selection of safer alternatives, with some of its stores not offering any alternatives at all.”
CVS followed closely behind Whole Foods with five kisses, followed by Walgreens and Target with four, and Walmart, Kroger and Costco with three.
"The progress some retailers have made to stock safer products is encouraging," said Erin Switalski of the Campaign and Women's Voices for the Earth.
"But we need regulations in place that put common-sense limits on toxic chemicals so that all women have access to safer products, whether they shop at Whole Foods or at dollar stores," she added.