Thursday, July 16, 2009

Banned IF Born Before 1970

Yesterday the long expected announcement on Green Indexing came out from Wal-Mart. This announcement by Matt Kistler, W-M Senior VP of Sustainability, will be mistakenly considered initially a change of direction. But the intent has always been to find a responsible way to effect development of green sustainable products. The Green Nose has stated that the ability to establish an index with known criteria is possible with fragrance chemicals, an important ingredient additive in nearly every leading consumer and institutional cleaners.

What is the impact when Wal-Mart announces an indexing programs to the manufacturing companies and the chemical supply chain? One, despite protests, real costs for specialized components will go down slightly. Initially, learning new analytical methods,  plus regulatory reporting will have a resource impact but reduced inventory of acceptable formula materials and resultant market forces will succumb to fair pricing. Wal-Mart is negating any manufacturer's threatened price increase argument by saying they will pass on the cost if necessary.

Two: product index labeling will result in chemical transparency and consumers will have another level of choice and personal benefit. Will transparency ruin confidentiality? No, because product intellectual protections (IP) are already in place and enforceable if a company is harmed. IP were necessary because competitive products are easily analyzed and reversed engineered in any modernly equipped lab. Leading formulators have recently set up ingredient disclosure summaries on their websites.

Three: toxicologist, environmentalist, and marketers do agree that prevention is the only acceptable environmental creed to follow. Buzz phrases like eco-babble are only stall tactics while industry self-regulators cry for standards and definitions.  

Not surprising, almost all of the preeminent industry regulators who participated in the dialogue were never educated in environmental sciences. That is why Non Government Organizations as well the EPA play a vital role in the process.

Wal-Mart in their releases has assessed that their program may take years to fully implement. Current programs in Europe are still gestating and differ with political boundaries. But the Wal-Mart goal is very noble and meant to effectively serve their target consumer and a global economy in the next decade. This is an opportunity to eliminate two key concerns found in certain fragrance materials. That is endocrine disruptor's and aquatic toxins that enter our waterways from cleaners that are rinsed down the drain. 

If you were born before 1970, you fumbled your chance for real leadership, stewardship and responsibility for clean waterways for your children. Your wisdom and experiences will now become a reflection on possibilities. High praise to Wal-Mart to support green sustainable chemistry for the market place. 


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