Originally published: Friends of the Earth
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Friends of the Earth and its allies are announcing a major advancement in their fight to protect essential pollinator populations. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and True Value have decided to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides, a leading driver of global bee declines, from company garden retail supply chains. This follows an ongoing campaign by Friends of the Earth and allies urging garden retailers, including True Value and Walmart, to stop selling plants treated with neonicotinoids and remove products containing them from store shelves.
In an email to Friends of the Earth, Walmart confirmed that its growers have eliminated neonics from approximately 80 percent of its garden plants. Walmart has also eliminated neonicotinoids in almost all its off-the-shelf gardening products. True Value announced that it will phase out products that contain neonicotinoid pesticides by the spring of 2018 and that the company is working with its growing partners to remove neonicotinoids from its plants.
“This is a great day for bees and sends an important message that the market is listening to consumers and sound science in refusing to sell bee-killing pesticides,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Food Futures Campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Friends of the Earth and our allies will continue to challenge Ace Hardware to eliminate these pesticides as quickly as possible to protect pollinators, people and the planet.”
Walmart and True Value join more than 110 retailers across the country, including Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW), that have made firm commitments to eliminate neonicotinoids. To date, Ace Hardware is the only leading garden retailer that has not made a strong commitment to eliminate neonicotinoids on both plants and off-the-shelf products.
“Ace Hardware needs to stop dragging its feet and immediately adopt a formal public policy to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its plants and products,” said Lisa Archer, Food & Technology Program Director at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Given that 40 percent of invertebrate pollinators are on the brink of extinction, it is more important than ever that companies like Ace Hardware and food retailers phase-out pollinator-toxic pesticides to address the bee crisis and protect our environment.”
“Polling clearly shows that American consumers want corporate retailers to commit to eliminate neonics and the vast majority of retailers are listening by saying NO to neonics on their store shelves,” said Angus Wong, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs. “Given clear consumer preference and the hundreds of thousands of Americans that have signed petitions to Ace Hardware and Kroger, we call on these retailers to adopt formal policies to eliminate bee-killing pesticides from all stores nationwide.”
A study released by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute in August 2016 revealed bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at major retailers. The latest commitments from True Value, Walmart and Costco (NYSE: COST) show that the industry has moved even further to eliminate these pesticides since the release of the report.
Organizations that have partnered with Friends of the Earth U.S. in the campaign to urge garden retailers phase out the use and sale of neonicotinoids include: American Bird Conservancy, Atlanta Audubon Society, Beyond Pesticides, Beyond Toxics, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, CREDO Action, Ecology Center, Endangered Species Coalition, Environment New York, Environment Texas, Environmental Youth Council, Farmworker Association of Florida, Friends of the Earth Canada, Georgia Organics, GMO Inside, Green America, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, League of Conservation Voters, Maryland Pesticide Network, Mercola.com, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, Olympia Beekeepers Association, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, Planet Rehab, Save our Environment, Sierra Club, Smart on Pesticides Maryland, SumOfUs, Toxics Action Center, Toxic Free North Carolina, Turner Environmental Law Clinic and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.