Kingfisher to phase out harmful chemicals from its supply chain
Published: 23 January 2019 - Kiran Grewal
Kingfisher, the international home improvement company, has today announced
it will phase out three chemical groups from its own branded products by 2025, with an ambition to extend this to the rest of its supply chain. The move is part of the company’s long-term commitment to reducing its environmental impact and helping consumers have healthier, more sustainable homes.
The three chemical groups – phthalates,Perfluorinated & Polyfluorinated Chemicals(PFCs) and halogenated flame retardants – are all common substances 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. 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.
Today’s announcement is the latest milestone in Kingfisher’s Chemicals Roadmap and will help the company deliver on its commitment to phase out the most high-risk chemicals as defined in its Sustainable Growth Plan. This plan sits at the heart of Kingfisher’s long-term sustainability strategy to become a Net Positive business by 2050.
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, to phase out chemicals of concern. 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 is also using its scale to drive change in the wider supply chain, by working hand in hand with suppliers to meet the goals laid out in its Sustainable Growth Plan and upskilling over 100 suppliers through training programmes, with ambitions to expand this number in 2019.
This is not the first time Kingfisher has taken action on chemicals; the business is constantly reviewing the chemicals in its supply chain and working with suppliers to innovate and find viable alternatives. In 2017, Kingfisher became the first retailer to ban neonicotinoids from its flowering plant range and the EU followed suit by issuing a Europe-wide ban to protect insects. Kingfisher has also worked hard over many years to minimise the use of volatile organic compounds in its paints and decorating products.
Paul Ellis, head of sustainable chemicals management at Kingfisher, commented: “We have developed our Chemicals Roadmap to provide customers with sustainable products that respond to their desire for fewer and less harmful chemicals in their homes, 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.”
Head of sustainability at Kingfisher, Caroline Laurie commented: “This is just the latest step towards the goals set out in our Sustainable Growth Plan. We know a good home is healthy, happy and sustainable and we want to help make this a reality for all of our customers. We will use our scale and the power of our brands to drive positive change for the good of society, customers and the environment – and inspire others to do the same.”