Kingfisher makes pledge on supply chain chemicals

23 January 2019

Home improvement company Kingfisher has promised to remove three major harmful chemicals from its supply chain.

The company said it plans to phase out phthalates, PFCs and halogenated flame retardants from its supply chain by 2025 as part of its Chemicals Roadmap.

The company said the move was part of its long-term commitment to reducing its environmental impact and helping consumers have healthier, more sustainable homes.

The three chemical groups are commonly found in products such as paint, textiles and PVC flooring.

“While most of these chemicals are not currently regulated, Kingfisher has identified them as harmful in its own ongoing review of the chemicals in its supply chain, which considers risks for consumers, factory workers and the environment,” the firm said in a statement.

“They will be removed from the shelves of more than 1,300 stores across Europe, including B&Q and Screwfix outlets in the UK, and will be replaced with more sustainable alternatives.”

Kingfisher has said its overall goal is a long-term sustainability strategy to become net positive by 2050. Net positive businesses aim not only to eliminate harmful practices in their supply chain but to replenish natural resources used in the making of their products.

“Kingfisher is committed to an ongoing review of the unregulated chemicals used across its supply chain and is going above and beyond legislation, such as EU REACH [an EU directive governing chemicals], to phase out chemicals of concern,” said the company.

“This includes applying regulation from other sectors, evaluating not only chemicals flagged as potentially harmful, but also the entire group of chemicals to which they belong, which may share similar risks.

Kingfisher said it aimed to use its scale to drive change in the wider supply chain. This will include working with suppliers to meet the goals laid out in its Sustainable Growth Plan and training more than 100 suppliers, with plans to expand this number in 2019.

Kingfisher said it was constantly reviewing the chemicals in its supply chain and working with suppliers to innovate and find viable alternatives.

It believes it became the first retailer to ban neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, from its flowering plant range in 2017, before the EU issued a Europe-wide ban to protect insects.

Paul Ellis, head of sustainable chemicals management at Kingfisher, said: “We have developed our Chemicals Roadmap to provide customers with sustainable products… while continuing to stay ahead of regulation and lead on sustainable chemical management in Europe.

“Achieving this aim takes time and requires collaboration across the global value chain and we welcome likeminded retailers to join us on this journey.”

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