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Company: CVS
Subject: Toxic Chemicals Policy
Year: 2007
Sector: Retail Multi-Line
Lead Filer: Boston Common Asset Management
Outcome: Withdrawn for dialogue; company published safe cosmetics policy in 2008

RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board publish a report to shareholders on CVS policy on cosmetics safety, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, by December 2007. This report should summarize which, if any, product lines or categories sold in CVS stores may be affected by the new cosmetics safety legislation and consumer trends described above, and any new initiatives or actions the management is taking to respond to this public policy challenge.

Full text:

Whereas:

  • Investors increasingly seek disclosure of companies' social and environmental practices in the belief that they impact shareholder value. Many investors believe companies that are good employers, environmental stewards, and corporate citizens will more likely prosper over the long term and be accepted in their communities.
  • CVS’s vision is to “help people live longer, healthier, happier lives”.
  • Consistent with that vision CVS has phased out sale of mercury thermometers, demonstrating its commitment to safer products for its customers and the environment.
  • Legislation enacted in some locations in the US and in Europe is beginning to reflect changing scientific and public perceptions regarding the safety of personal care and cosmetics products. In February 2003, European Union Directive 2003/15/EC (amending Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC) banned the sale in Europe of cosmetics or personal care products that contain any ingredients on a list of chemicals known or suspected of causing cancer, genetic mutations, or birth defects.
  • Two of CVS’s major cosmetics suppliers, L’Oreal and Revlon, have committed to reformulating their products globally to meet European Union standards.
  • California’s new Safe Cosmetics Act will require the manufacturers of cosmetics products sold in California, with certain exceptions, to provide the state with a list of products sold in the state containing any ingredient identified as causing cancer or reproductive toxicity.
  • Consumers’ concern about safe cosmetics is growing. As a result, over 450 two hundred cosmetics companies have informed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of health, consumer, and advocacy groups, that they will take additional actions on safe cosmetics –
  1. inventorying their product ingredients for suspected carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxins, and for chemicals that affect the endocrine system, accumulate in the body or persist in the environment.
  2. proactively seeking safe alternatives for these chemicals, and
  3. publicly reporting on their progress.


According to a recent report, (http://rosefdn.org/liroffreport.pdf), safer alternatives policies have been adopted by leading retailers in response to the legislation and consumer concerns, including the drug and cosmetics retailer in the United Kingdom, Boots LLC. The value of the Boots’ brand is signaled by CVS’ expanded strategic partnership with them. Companies have adopted such practices to build public trust, protect brand reputation, and anticipate prospective regulation.

RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board publish a report to shareholders on CVS policy on cosmetics safety, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, by December 2007. This report should summarize which, if any, CVS product lines or product categories sold in CVS stores may be affected by the new cosmetics safety legislation and consumer trends described above, and any new initiatives or actions the management is taking to respond to this public policy challenge.

Supporting Statement:

Potential new initiatives that might be included in the report include consumer education, research, communications with suppliers, or changes in purchasing policies.


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