Walmart has set a goal to reduce the discharge of priority chemicals from the manufacturing processes of its textile and apparel suppliers by 2025.
Walmart's priority chemicals are identified from regulatory lists, including those under:
US state lists of chemicals of concern, such as those established in Maine, California and Washington;
the US EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) of persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals; and
substances listed under global treaty, the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants.
To achieve this, it is urging its textile and apparel suppliers to use third-party certification and industry tools to reduce the use of these chemicals. Suppliers of apparel, footwear and soft home textiles are being asked to “lead in manufacturing their products with sustainable chemistry”.
The company specifically urges the use of third-party certification that “accesses and recognises leadership”, such as Oeko-Tex Standard 100. This certification scheme includes criteria on legal requirements for banned azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel, as well as the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regarding lead and those under REACH.
Walmart is also working with suppliers to its US stores to increase use of trade group, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM).
The Higg Index is a suite of tools that allows brands, retailers and manufacturing facilities to measure and score the sustainability performance of a company or product. It includes modules on chemicals management and the use of hazardous substances.