Sustainable Chemistry Implementation Guide Section 1: Scope & Definitions


Walmart’s Sustainable Chemistry Commitment covers formulated (chemical-based) consumable products sold in the U.S. through Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs, hereby referred to jointly as "Walmart." The commitment excludes active ingredients that provide therapeutic benefit when present in a product approved by the FDA New Drug Application process. Approximately 125,000 SKUs and 900 suppliers are covered by the commitment.

Walmart U.S. Accounting Departments

  • 2-Health & Beauty Aids
  • 4-Household Paper
  • 8-Pets & Supplies
  • 13-Household Chemicals
  • 46-Cosmetics & Skincare
  • 79-Infant Consumable Hardlines

Sam's Club U.S. Categories

  • 2-Health & Beauty Aids
  • 4-Tabletop & Bags
  • 8-Pet Supplies
  • 13-Laundry & Home Care
  • 47-Baby Care
  • 94-Paper Goods
  • 98-Janitorial


In this section, we’ve provided several key terms and definitions that are critical components of the Sustainable Chemistry Implementation Guide.

As defined by the Chemical Footprint Project*, a chemical footprint is "the total mass of chemicals of high concern (CoHCs) in products sold by a company, used in its manufacturing operations and by its suppliers, and contained in packaging."

*A project founded by Clean Production Action, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Pure Strategies to transform global chemical use by measuring and disclosing data on business progress on sustainable chemistry. It provides a tool for benchmarking companies as they select alternatives and reduce their use of chemicals of high concern.

Walmart Priority Chemicals less than all the Sourcing Action List Chemicals. See Figure 1 below.

Verified SALs + Unverified SALS = Sourcing Action List Chemicals (SALs). Sourcing Action List Chemicals (SALs) + Consumables Chemical Footprint = Walmart Priority Chemicals.

Figure 1.

REACH defines “contaminant of concern” as “a residual that meets the criteria for classification as a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant; or is persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic; or where there is ’scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.’" (REACH Title VII, Chapter 1, Article 57). Residuals can be defined as “trace amounts of chemicals that are incidental to manufacturing…[and] include: unintended byproducts of chemical reactions that occur in product formulation and chemical synthesis, impurities in an ingredient that may arise from starting materials, incompletely reacted components, and degradation products.” (U.S. EPA Safer Choice Standard)

The design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation or use of substances that are hazardous to humans and the environment.

REACH defines “priority chemicals” as substances with certain hazardous properties that can affect human health, and/or the environment. A priority chemical is a chemical that meets the criteria for classification as a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant, or is persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic; or any chemical for which there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.*

*REACH Title VII, Chapter 1, Article 57

Retail Link® is an online decision support system that is a bridge between Walmart and its suppliers.

Chemical products designed to preserve efficacy of function while reducing toxicity.*

*Source: American Chemical Society: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/greenchemistry/what-is-green-chemistry.html

Petroleum-based chemicals on Walmart’s Priority Chemical list that have been identified by Walmart and EDF because of the potential presence of contaminants of concern, as indicated by regulatory and authoritative bodies. Walmart encourages suppliers to indicate if they are using a Verified Sourcing Action List Chemical. See Appendix 7 for list of SALs.

The design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes.

Defined within WERCSmart as:

Number of publicly disclosed ingredients that resolve to a specific chemical identity ÷ Total number of ingredients in the full WERCSmart formulation

If a formulation contains a generic ingredient name that is publicly disclosed, that will count as one ingredient in the denominator, but it will not contribute to the numerator, since it cannot be resolved to a specific chemical.

If a formulation contains a third-party component, it will count as one ingredient in the denominator. If the supplier of that component has provided Tier 2 consent, the component can be screened against a Restricted Substances List and it may include constituents the supplier has indicated are publicly disclosed. In this case, the component’s own Transparency Score will be included in the numerator of a product’s overall Transparency Score. The component may contribute an amount to the numerator that ranges from 0 to 1, depending on whether no constituents in the component are marked as publicly disclosed (TS=0), some constituents are marked as publicly disclosed (e.g., TS=0.5 if half the component constituents are publicly disclosed), or all constituents present are marked as publicly disclosed (TS=1).

A Sourcing Action List chemical for which the supplier has not indicated using a Verified SALs.

When a supplier verifies their SALs do not contain any Walmart Priority Chemicals.*

*WERCSmart measurement enhancements are not yet available to suppliers.

From among Walmart Priority Chemicals, Walmart worked with NGOs, academics, government and industry stakeholders to identify a subset of chemicals as a starting point for suppliers. Those Walmart High Priority Chemicals are:

  • Toluene (solvent)
  • Dibutyl Phthalate (solvent, plasticizer)
  • Diethyl Phthalate (solvent and plasticizer)
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs, surfactant), note: NPEs are a class of chemicals and not an individual CAS number
  • Formaldehyde (bonding agent)
  • Butylparaben (preservative)
  • Propylparaben (preservative)
  • Triclosan (antimicrobial) - Active ingredients that provide therapeutic benefit when present in a product approved by the FDA New Drug Application process - such as triclosan in toothpaste for treating plaque - are allowed

Chemicals flagged in the WERCSmart system as being on Walmart defined authoritative and regulatory lists (see Appendix 1) within the scope of this commitment.

*Eight chemicals on these authoritative lists have been excluded because product type and/or exposure scenario indicated in the authoritative determination(s) is not relevant. These chemicals include: ethyl alcohol, cellulose, isopropyl alcohol, wood dust (all soft and hard woods), sulfuric acid, sodium fluoride, hydriodic acid, and imiprothrin.

The platform through which proprietary product formulations are provided to the Underwriters Laboratories (a vendor to Walmart supporting chemical safety and regulatory compliance.)