Rite Aid today announced expanded commitments to reduce toxic chemicals in the products it sells, doubling down on its efforts to ensure clean, safe product ingredients as part of the company’s RxEvolution strategy.
Rite Aid’s commitment to improving chemical management and product safety directly aligns with the retailer’s objective to help customers achieve whole health. Following an evaluation of current practices, Rite Aid has identified several new areas for improvement in its revised chemical policy, committing to:
- Issuing a food-contact materials restricted substance list and requiring private brand suppliers to certify that all packaging and packaging components sold to Rite Aid comply with the requirements of federal and state packaging laws, as well as with the company’s corporate restricted list for food-contact packaging materials.
- Suppliers will also be required to certify that restricted chemicals were not intentionally added to their packaging, and do not exceed restriction limits laid out in the restricted substance list. The full list of chemicals and corresponding restriction limits may be found as an addendum to the Company Chemical Policy on Rite Aid’s website.
- Offering increased product ingredient transparency by requiring suppliers to provide additional disclosure surrounding generic ingredients, like “fragrance,” by December 2023
- Enhancing consumer transparency efforts around desired product attributes, such as organic, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and paraben-free, making it easier for customers to identify cleaner products.
“Rite Aid’s RxEvolution is about promoting whole health, and we’re dedicated to ensuring that our merchandise is aligned to that goal,” said Erik Keptner, chief marketing & merchandising officer, Rite Aid. “We’re proud of our work to offer cleaner, more sustainable products. Our expanded commitment is another step forward in our journey to offer our customers product choices they can feel great about.”
In 2016, Rite Aid executed a formal chemical management policy and committed to removing eight chemicals of concern (triclosan, propylparaben, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, diethyl phthalate, butylparaben, and nonylphenol ethoxylates) from its own brand formulated products by the end of 2020. Rite Aid has reached 98% compliance with its commitment and is actively working with outstanding supplier partners to reformulate or transition the remaining items to ensure total compliance.
Beyond its commitment to eliminate eight chemicals of high concern, Rite Aid continues to screen all formulated products against its full restricted substance list (RSL) that contains 69 chemicals of concern. This list was expanded to go beyond regulatory requirements and include additional chemicals that the US retail sector has prioritized for elimination. The complete list may be found as part of Rite Aid’s chemical policy.
In conjunction with its chemical policy, the continuing merchandise transformation emphasizes a broader assortment of products that contain cleaner ingredients and are better for the environment. As part of a robust screening, tracking and monitoring protocol, Rite Aid has moved from survey-based assessments of RSL compliance to automated screening using the WERCSmart platform; suppliers are required to report all ingredients in their formulated products to WERCSmart. Rite Aid will leverage these reports to benchmark its progress toward meeting chemical management and product safety goals.
As part of these efforts, Rite Aid has continued its work with the Mind the Store campaign. The campaign works with hundreds of organizations and businesses and encourages retailers to replace chemicals of concern with safer alternatives.
“We are very pleased to see that Rite Aid is taking concrete actions to safeguard its customers and communities from toxic chemicals,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director. “Today’s announcement shows excellent progress; setting higher bars on chemical management is a growing sustainability trend among retailers. In our work with Rite Aid over the last year, we have been impressed by the significant progress made despite the global pandemic.”
To assist Rite Aid’s stakeholders in understanding the impact of the objectives outlined above, Rite Aid will continue reporting progress on its chemical management initiatives, elimination commitment and program expansion as a part of its annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. Additional information about Rite Aid and its CSR efforts can be found here.