Life Brands beauty and cosmetics items, as well as the company’s household line President’s Choice, will be made without these ingredient-of-concern starting in 2019.
"Working with our scientific advisors, we identified ingredients that may have a negative impact on the environment, or on our customers, and are working to remove them," says Galen G. Weston, executive chairman and president of the retailer.
Of course, at the end of the day, company profits are motivating the policy shift. Loblaw sees a correlation between the sale of its grocery fish products and the microbeads in its personal care formulations. "Microbeads create a lifecycle issue for our organization," he notes. "We sell skin care with micro beads. We sell fish. And, in an odd twist, our beauty products may ultimately impact our commitment to sustainable seafood."
In a statement to the media announcing the ingredient phase out, Loblaw outlined the conventional uses of Triclosan and phthalates and noted that, “some experts have linked Triclosan and phthalates to human or environmental health concerns.”
The company went a bit further describing the harm microbeads do to the environment. “Microbeads are commonly used in skin exfoliants, but can wash down drains, slip through water treatment systems, pass into lakes and oceans, and mimic the look of fish eggs – an attractive meal in the food chain.”
Earlier this year the Canadian parliament moved closer to listing microbeads as a toxic substance. MP Megan Leslie put a motion to do so before the house, following the publication of new research from the University of Waterloo on plastic debris in the Great Lakes.
Legislation to prohibit the use of microbeads trumps industry regulation and CSR initiatives and gets directly to the issue at hand: “There are no known ways to effectively remove microplastics after they make their way into the environment. So the simplest action is to prevent them from entering the environment,” explain the New Democrats.
The company’s move to phase out Triclosan, phthalates and microbeads was prefigured by statements Weston made early last month at the annual general meeting.
“Recently, nine out of 10 customers told us they are concerned about potentially hazardous chemicals in products. And, our scientific advisors suggested a measured move away from some specific additives,” Weston said.