Whole Foods Market believes shoppers have a right to know what’s in their cleaning products, and it’s taking steps to inform them. This week the natural retail giant launched its Eco-Scale Rating System, a color-coded rating system that ranks cleaning products based on environmental and sourcing standards.
"We've always carefully monitored ingredients,” says Jim Speirs, global VP of procurement for Whole Foods, in the Austin American-Statesman. “Now, with Eco-Scale, we're able to help shoppers buy eco-friendly products with confidence and provide safer alternatives for their households and for the planet as a whole."
The United States does not require full disclosure of cleaning product ingredients, although a Whole Foods survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 73 percent of adults believe that it does.
Whole Foods Market is the first national retailer to provide its own rating system and to require household cleaners to list every ingredient on product labels. Whole Foods will evaluate and independently audit every cleaning product on its shelves and require vendors to meet the minimum standard by Earth Day 2012.
"With Eco-Scale, we'll be able to offer more solutions for eco-conscious shoppers, and those with sensitive skin and allergy concerns who often reach for natural cleaners first," says Speirs. "Now parents and pet owners can also rest assured that they know exactly what ingredients they are using in the company of their loved ones."
To get the highest (green rating), products must contain only 100 percent natural ingredients and no petroleum-derived ingredients. To meet the baseline standard, products must be third-party verified to meet the following criteria:
--No ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns, such as phosphates, chlorine or preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde
--No artificial colors
--No animal testing
"Once we start getting the call out and people start comparing one (product) to another, everyone is going to have to change," Speirs predicts.