Our members are familiar with many of the aspects of Clean Water Action advocacy: promoting legislation, endorsing candidates, field and phone canvassing, educational outreach.
Several of our state offices also do direct engagement with the business community to promote best practices on issues like chemical policy and waste management. Our New England offices (Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts) have been working for over a year with management at CVS Health on developing a safer chemical policy.
The Mind the Store program had been talking with CVS on this subject for a few years. Clean Water staffers joined the effort last year by participating in conference calls and attending a face-to-face session with CVS management at their Woonsocket, R.I. corporate headquarters last summer.
The campaign began to show progress late last year, when CVS pledged to join the Chemical Footprint Project and announce restrictions on chemicals of concern in their private label product lines in 2017.
The company made good on those commitments by announcing on April 19th that it was placing restrictions on phthalates, parabins and formaldehyde, a step that would require reformulation of nearly 600 products by the end of 2019.
Our Minnesota office has done similar engagement with Target on chemical issues, Clean Water Action Rhode Island created a mercury recycling program in local hardware stores and we also organize public demonstrations to put pressure on businesses who aren’t as willing to come to the table.
Successes like the talks with CVS are proof that environmentalists and businesses can achieve significant progress when they work together.