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INVESTOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NETWORK APPLAUDS SEARS HOLDINGS’ NEW POLICY TO REDUCE AND PHASE OUT USE OF POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC)
The latest in a series of decisions by such leading retailers as Wal-Mart and Target is a further reminder that retailers must take responsibility for reducing consumer exposures to toxic chemicals in products.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 13, 2007
The Investor Environmental Health Network salutes Sears Holdings’ announcement this morning of its intention to reduce and phase out polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its packaging and merchandise. Sears will identify safer, more sustainable, and cost-effective alternatives to PVC and incorporate them into the design and manufacturing profess for its private label brands and will encourage its suppliers to do so as well.
In November 2006 the Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) filed a shareholder resolution at Sears, noting the health and environmental impacts of PVC from production to disposal, and requesting that Sears produce a corporate sustainability report incorporating this and other issues. The resolution was withdrawn when Sears agreed to a dialogue with shareholders on these matters. These conversations occurred in parallel with Sears’ conversations with the PVC Campaign of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice in Falls Church, Virginia.
IEHN Executive Director Richard Liroff said: “Sears has done the right thing by joining the growing ranks of retailers and manufacturers who have said no to PVC and are embracing less toxic alternatives. This is a win-win good for business, the environment, and consumer and worker safety.”
Patricia Zerega, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for ELCA commented, “We appreciate the very positive approach and creative thinking that Sears staff brought to our conversations and that are reflected in the concrete steps the company is taking.”
IEHN is a collaborative partnership of investment managers, advised by nongovernmental organizations, concerned about the market and health risks associated with corporate toxics policies. It serves as an informational resource and secretariat for investors working to reduce portfolio risk related to toxic chemicals.
IEHN members, who manage more than $34 billion in assets, have encouraged scores of retailers and manufacturers in the US and overseas to adopt safer chemicals policies to reduce both consumer and worker exposures to toxic chemicals. Investors’ letters and shareholder resolutions have led, for example, to Whole Foods Market deciding in early 2006 to remove baby bottles and other products containing hazardous chemicals from its shelves and pledging to reduce customers’ exposures to chemicals that interfere with human hormones; Apple, Inc. speeding its removal of toxic chemicals from its products; Mohawk Industries disclosing its impressive efforts to phase out PVC and the chemical PFOA; and CVS Caremark agreeing to dialogue with investors on safer cosmetics policies.
Patrick Mitchell at (703) 276-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org