Walmart Sustainable Chemistry Commitment

Section l: Sustainable Products at Walmart | Our Pledge to Customers

At Walmart, we strive to provide our customers with access to affordable products for themselves and their families that are safer and healthier. We work continuously to earn our customers’ trust by advocating for them among suppliers and encouraging innovation and transparency in product development and production.

Section ll: Sustainable Chemistry

Chemicals are the building blocks of every manufactured product, including the products customers purchase and use every day. Modern scientific research continues to illuminate important relationships between chemical exposures and human and environmental health. Walmart looks to the scientific community to guide us on this journey toward greener chemistry. Green chemistry is “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.”1Sustainable chemistry is “the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes.”2

Section lll: Walmart’s Position

Walmart customers and Sam’s Club members have high expectations of the products they purchase; and they should. Our customers and members seek products that are safe, effective, affordable, and sustainable. In an effort to continue to exceed their expectations, Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores have established commitments to work with suppliers to encourage the incorporation of Sustainable Chemistry principles in the design of products sold in our stores. In working with suppliers, NGOs, academics, government, and industry stakeholders, we have developed this Commitment to Sustainable Chemistry.

Walmart Sustainable Chemistry Principles

  • We embrace the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.
  • We believe leadership is reasonably going above and beyond legal and regulatory compliance.
  • We believe in the public disclosure of our goals and progress.
  • We work with credible third party organizations and leverage regulatory and authoritative resources to guide our approach.
  • We expect our products to meet or exceed our performance standards and deliver on our every day low price promise.

While we embrace these Sustainable Chemistry Principles, we know that Sustainable Chemistry is a complex topic. For instance, ingredients can pose greater or lesser risk depending on the product type or manufacturing context. Transparency can also be difficult given the many layers of the chemical supply chain, requiring disclosure of chemicals from many different manufacturers. Lastly, chemical innovation and change can sometimes take time, and this document signals our desire for acceleration from suppliers in reformulating products with informed substitution in mind.

Walmart focuses its efforts in three key pillars: Transparency, Advancing Safer Formulation, and Advancing our Assortment. We describe each in more detail below and are committed to publicly sharing our measurement progress through our Walmart Sustainability Hub website and through Walmart’s participation in the Chemical Footprint Project Survey.3

Section IV: What we’re encouraging of our suppliers


Customers increasingly want to know more about the ingredients in their products. They read the labels on packaging and research ingredients to learn more about why they are used and if there are potential environmental or safety concerns.

Walmart’s Actions

Beginning in 2017, Walmart will annually participate in the Chemical Footprint Project based on aggregated information it receives through the Sustainability Index and The WERCS. Participation in the Chemical Footprint Project helps to publicly benchmark progress towards greater transparency.

Since 2013, Walmart has encouraged full ingredient transparency, including transparency on the following: ingredients typically protected under trade secrets (e.g., fragrances); allergens; known residuals, contaminants, and by-products; hazard information; and identification of ingredient function.

Toward that end, Walmart encourages all suppliers to provide full online public ingredient disclosure for formulated consumable items sold at Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores. Walmart has also encouraged suppliers of formulated consumables to expand their online and on-pack ingredient disclosure to international markets. Walmart’s expectation is that online public disclosure would be easily accessible from the supplier’s website and be displayed at the per-product level.

We encourage all our Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores national and private brand suppliers of formulated consumables to:

  1. Disclose full product formulations to The WERCS through WERCSmart, above and beyond what is required by law
  2. Disclose all product ingredients online by product
  3. Specifically, for household cleaning products, disclose information required to be disclosed under California’s Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 on-pack4
  4. Encourage online and on-pack disclosure internationally

We will annually measure:

  • Percentage of formulated consumable products by UPC with fully disclosed formulation provided by supplier to The WERCS through WERCSmart
  • Percentage of suppliers reporting products with online ingredient disclosure through the Sustainability Index, a voluntary supplier survey
  • Percentage of suppliers reporting products with on-pack ingredient disclosure through the Sustainability Index, a voluntary supplier survey

Advancing Safer Formulation

The scientific community with which Walmart consults considers safer chemicals to be chemical products designed to preserve efficacy of function while reducing toxicity.5 As part of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, Walmart embraces use of the principles of green chemistry and encourages informed substitution by suppliers and manufacturers to mitigate, reduce, and eliminate potential hazards associated with product formulations.

Walmart’s Actions

By 2022, Walmart aims to reduce the consumables chemical footprint of Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores by 10 percent. In furtherance of that goal, Walmart encourages suppliers to verify the purity of ingredients where concern about possible contaminants may exist.6 In coordination with scientific experts and industry groups, Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores have identified Walmart High Priority Chemicals (HPCs) and Walmart Priority Chemicals (PCs) that our stores would like to see manufacturers reduce, restrict, or eliminate from their products.

We encourage all our Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores national and private brand suppliers of formulated consumables to:

  1. Complete the Sustainability Index to track performance on chemical disclosure, risk assessment, and hazard avoidance
  2. Reduce, restrict and eliminate use of HPCs and PCs
  3. Verify purity of ingredients where contaminants of concern may exist, starting in 2019

We will annually measure:

  • Completion of the Sustainability Index for relevant and available product categories
  • Responses to relevant Sustainability Index key performance indicators of sustainable chemistry practices implemented by suppliers
  • Weight volume of HPCs and PCs in aggregate
  • Number of UPCs with HPCs and PCs
  • Number of Suppliers with HPCs and PCs
  • Weight volume of ingredients, known to often harbor contaminants of concern, that are verified to meet purity standards*

Advancing our Assortment

Sustainable chemistry is not only about removing priority chemicals from products and processes but also about meeting customer demand for more green chemistry and sustainable products.

Walmart’s Actions

We encourage private and national brand suppliers to lead on sustainable chemistry by leveraging third party certifications that assess and recognize leadership in line with the principles of green chemistry and safer substitution. Third party certifications can help lend credibility and provide verification for how products are made and can provide a signal of leadership to customers.

Walmart is encouraging the use of the following certifications that we believe align with our Commitment to Sustainable Chemistry. In particular, Walmart is encouraging certifications that:

  • Prioritizes reduction of Priority Chemicals
  • Robust alternative assessment methodology
  • Publicly available methodology
  • Data verification processes

Certifications: US EPA’s Safer Choice; EWG verified; or Cradle to Cradle (Silver or above level).

We encourage all Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. stores national and private brand suppliers of formulated consumables to:

  1. Credibly certify products

We will annually measure*:

  • Number of UPCs that use credible certifications
  • Number of Suppliers with credible certifications

* WERCSmart measurement enhancements are not yet available to suppliers

1 Anastas, P.T. and Warner, J.C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press: New York, 1998.
2 OECD http://www.oecd.org/env/ehs/risk-management/29361016.pdf
3 www.chemicalfootprint.org
4 Walmart recognizes that disclosure on many consumable products is required by law. Walmart is encouraging those not required by law to disclose on-pack to provide disclosures.
5 American Chemical Society: https://www.acs.org/greenchemistry.html
6 REACH defines ”contaminant of concern” as “a residual that meets the criteria for classification as a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant; or is persistent, bioaccumulative, 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).