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Within the close to future, REI will solely promote merchandise which are fully freed from PFAS, the dangerous class of chemical substances. That’s the information from the Washington-based retailer, which introduced Tuesday new product requirements for itself and its thousand-plus model companions.
REI’s new guidelines would require its suppliers to chop all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from all cookware, attire, sneakers, packs, and related gear. It’s a deliberate phase-out of all remaining merchandise with the chemical substances. Its deadline? Fall 2024.
That’s along with REI’s current PFAS restrictions, which ended the sale of drugs containing long-chain PFAS, and banned the chemical substances fully in ski wax and clothes therapies.
Suppliers of “all remaining textile merchandise” in its retail line — objects like heavy-duty rain jackets — may have till 2026 to part out the chemical substances.
PFAS embrace over 9,000 human-made chemical substances with nonstick and water-repellent properties that’s widespread in client merchandise. A variety of outside clothes, pots and pans, and firefighting foam all include PFAS. Additionally referred to as “endlessly chemical substances,” they received’t break down naturally. Research have detected PFAS within the bloodstream of 97 p.c of People, and wild animal species all around the planet.
The broader well being implications PFAS introduce are nonetheless below debate. However research have already linked the chemical substances to many well being issues, together with most cancers and liver injury.
REI’s Product Requirements: The Particulars
REI first launched its Product Requirements mannequin in 2018 as a self-audit of its environmental impacts. With a 2020 replace, the corporate mentioned it needed to handle its companion manufacturers’ “carbon discount, inclusive advertising practices and cultural designs within the merchandise they make and promote to REI.”
Along with “alignment” with state legal guidelines that more and more prohibit PFAS, updates to the corporate’s requirements this 12 months embrace:
- Elevated expectations requiring manufacturers to measure their greenhouse gasoline emissions and set targets for emissions discount. (REI has set its personal emissions discount goal by way of the Science Based mostly Targets initiative.)
- New expectations to advance fairness throughout merchandise, like worth fairness throughout dimension ranges and inclusive sizing.
To assist its model companions meet the brand new guidelines, REI will present “sources and engagement alternatives” in assist. Workshops, steering documentation, partnerships with the Out of doors Business Affiliation’s Local weather Motion Corps, “and extra” are on the desk.
“The requirements maintain the co-op and over 1,000 of our model companions accountable,” REI Vice President of Product Chris Speyer mentioned. “The merchandise we stock characterize our best alternatives to assist higher methods of doing enterprise. We wish our members and clients to know the merchandise they buy at REI are serving to to construct a greater retail trade.”
REI is the largest client co-op within the US, with 21.5 million members. REI operates 181 shops in 42 states and the District of Columbia.