Loblaw to Remove Microbeads from Life Brand and President’s Choice

LoblawsAs the latest announcement in its ongoing journey to improve consumer products through its private brands, Loblaw Companies Limited has committed that by the end of 2018, Life Brand and President’s Choice household, beauty and cosmetic products will no longer be formulated using Triclosan, phthalates or micro beads.

“Emerging science and public opinion suggest a measured move away from some specific ingredients is prudent,” said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman and President, Loblaw. “Working with our scientific advisors, we identified ingredients that may have a negative impact on the environment, or on our customers, and are working to remove them.”

Some experts have linked Triclosan and phthalates to human or environmental health concerns. Triclosan is common in antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes and some cosmetic products; phthalates are a group of chemicals used to carry scent in personal-care products such as soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes, and to make plastics more flexible.

Micro beads are commonly used in skin exfoliants, but can wash down drains, slip through water treatment systems, pass into lakes and oceans, and mimic the look of fish eggs – an attractive meal in the food chain.

“Micro beads create a lifecycle issue for our organization,” said Weston. “We sell skin care with micro beads. We sell fish. And, in an odd twist, our beauty products may ultimately impact our commitment to sustainable seafood.”

These three ingredients are being removed as a first step of a broader, ongoing process. Loblaw has worked with scientific advisors Dr. Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie since 2014 to help identify areas the company can play a leadership role and focus efforts where they can make the most impact.

“Around the world, scientific evidence is accumulating that these ingredients could be a problem for environmental and human health,” said Rick Smith, co-author of two bestselling books on the health effects of pollution and toxic chemicals. “When a leader like Loblaw puts a stake in the ground on an issue like this, it enables real change. This decision to create an ongoing process that reexamines the ingredients within their supply chain, highlights their commitment to protecting the health of consumers and the environment.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.