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Friday, November 30, 2012

Strategic CSR - Walgreens

The article in the url below reports a new line of ‘green’ products recently launched by Walgreens, named Ology:

The brand features bath and facial tissue, paper towels, copy paper, fluorescent light bulbs, laundry detergent, baby care products, householder cleaners and personal care items, such as adult shampoo and conditioner. All products are value-priced, Walgreens says.

This raises the issue of where the tradeoff is between CSR products and “value-pricing,” but I’ll leave that to another day. What I found particularly interesting was another element of the story:

The liquid products contain no harmful chemicals, according to the company.

It is notable that the fact that the products contain “no harmful chemicals” is a point that needs to be highlighted. Why isn’t that the starting point for all consumer products? Anyway, it turns out that, rather than an act of proactive progressivism from Walgreens in response to a receptive market, this move is merely a reactive decision that was “prompted by increasing legislative pressure to regulate chemicals in consumer products.” Apparently:

The US Senate previously approved The Safe Chemicals Act, which if passed, would overhaul the federal chemicals law and require ingredients be determined safe for human health before they could be used in everyday consumer products, Walgreens said. The pending legislation has compelled several industry leaders, including Walgreens, to pledge to remove potentially harmful and carcinogenic chemicals over the next several years.

It is amazing to stop and think about that for a moment. Congress might just pass a law requiring that the ingredients in consumer products should not be hazardous to human health (see: The position in the U.S. that all chemicals are safe until proven otherwise, contrasts with Europe’s approach that all chemicals need to be proven safe before they are included in consumer products.

Someone wake me up when the twenty-first century gets here!

Have a good weekend

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Walgreens Launches Green Products Brand
November 9, 2012
Environmental Leader