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Company: Circuit City
Subject: PVC, Other Toxic Chemicals in Products
Year: 2008
Sector: Electronics Retail/Manufacture
Lead Filer: Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Outcome: Withdrawn; company provided requested information

Whereas:
Toxic chemicals in electronics supply chains have been a prominent concern in recent years, as stories in the media have highlighted hazards to human health and the environment from the production, use, and disposal of electronics products.

Public policies in the United States and overseas have begun to address these issues. For example, the European Union has adopted the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive limiting the use of specific chemicals such as lead and certain brominated flame retardants in electronics products.

Private sector companies have also responded. For example, Wal-Mart is developing a scorecard for assessing the sustainability of its suppliers’ electronics products that includes the use of innovative materials that reduce the amount of hazardous substances in products. Wal-Mart also has established a goal that all televisions and computers it sells will comply with the RoHS directive by the end of 2007.

Numerous suppliers in the electronics industry have adopted policies and practices on the use of PVC in products and packaging out of concern about the health and environmental impacts of PVC throughout its supply chain. Manufacturers establishing publicly-disclosed policies on PVC use include Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony. Retailers doing so include Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, and Kmart. Retailers have given priority to addressing PVC in their private-label products.

Safer, cost-effective alternatives to PVC are readily available, including safer and recyclable plastics, and bio-based materials. Our company sells such private-label brands such as Element and NexxTech, but has not published policies or practices with respect to PVC in products and packaging.

Resolved: Shareholders request that the Board publish a report to shareholders on Circuit City policies on product safety, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, by December 2008. This report should summarize which, if any, product lines or categories sold in Circuit City stores may be affected by the product safety concerns described above, and options for new initiatives, above and beyond legal compliance, that management can or will take to respond to this public policy challenge.

Supporting Statement:
Proponents believe that publicly responding to these concerns not only has significant environmental and health benefits, but also helps to build public trust, protect brand reputation, and can safeguard and grow market share by anticipating further regulation and mitigating the risk of product recalls and other legal liabilities.


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