The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) have agreed to a long-term collaborative relationship to assess the current and future chemical management program at Costco. BCGC will be studying and evaluating Costco’s current chemical assessment program and wider chemical policy planning. We will assist Costco in developing a strategic plan for restricting and assessing chemicals of concern within their global supply chain and guiding company procurement now and in the future. We are excited to help the further adoption of green chemistry in the retail sector!
Executive Director Tom McKeag will oversee the overall project planning for the Berkeley research team led by BCGC Associate Director Dr. Ann Blake and Dr. Sally Edwards of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachuesetts, Lowell. Dr. Tala Daya, formerly of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability (LMAS) at UC Berkeley will be assisting in the research and analysis as part of her new postdoc appointment at BCGC. The Berkeley team will work with a high-power, cross-company team at Costco.
This partnership will serve for a regular assessment, refinement and implementation of chemical policy at Costco. The intent of BCGC is to first perform a comprehensive review of relevant factors affecting chemicals management at Costco for three product areas: textiles, furniture, and personal care and household products. BCGC will then review and compare Costco’s current chemical restrictions in relation to a larger list of chemicals of concern as well as to sector restricted substances lists (RSL) and best practices in assessing safer alternatives for each of the three identified product categories. Actionable recommendations for the short, mid and longer term will be provided.
Costco Wholesale has a commitment to provide great products and value to its over 85 million international members and helping them achieve their chemicals management program goals will have a big impact for a safer retail sector.
Cancer Free Economy Network
The Cancer Free Economy Network (CFEN) is a network of diverse organizations and funding partners working to achieve an ambitious overall goal: “Within a generation, we (CEFN) will lift the burden of cancers and other diseases by driving a dramatic and equitable transition from toxics to effective clean and safe alternatives.”
Founded in 2014 by the Garfield Foundation, the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, the Blue Green Alliance and the Breast Cancer Fund, the CFEN is developing a strategic plan, using a systems map built by participants to describe the dynamics among institutions/sectors/organizations/interests that influence the existence and impacts of toxic chemicals in the economy, to achieve this goal. The CFEN includes working groups organized around certain areas of the systems map – called clusters, or areas of capacity, called hubs. These working groups strive to: promote prevention of cancer and other diseases caused by chemical exposures; shift the supply and demand chains to safer chemicals and safer jobs; create diverse, “non-traditional” partners, holding equity as a highest-order principle; and develop interconnected communications, popular education, organizing, policy and fundraising strategies.
Dr. Blake served as co-lead of the Supply Cluster in 2015, and continues as a member of the Market Shift node within CFEN.
Dr. Ann Blake of EPHC has been working with Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) of Atlanta, GA to develop curriculum, guidelines and standards for residential interior furnishings. WWYW’s categories of Natural, Sustainable and Responsible will be utilized in the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)’s New American Home 2017. WWYW’s goal is to drastically reduce toxic chemicals in the residential living environment.
Ann Blake, PhD, Founder and Principal of Environmental & Public Health Consulting, along with Mark Rossi, co-director of Clean Production Action, co-authored the Plastics Scorecard V1.0: Evaluating the Chemical Footprint of Plastics, published on July 1, 2014. The Plastics Scorecard v.1.0 offers the first comprehensive method for assessing and reducing chemicals of high concern in plastics.
Toxics Reduction Program
Assisted San Francisco Environment staff with the implementation of the City and County’s Precautionary Principle Ordinance. Assisted City staff with the development and application of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing criteria to the City’s purchase of goods and services.
Ann Blake, Ph.D. created the original curriculum for and taught the online core class, “Green Chemistry and Chemicals Policy” in 2009-2011. Dr. Blake is currently creating a new course curriculum on alternatives assessment and LCA, with co-developer and co-instructor Cristiano Façanha of the International Council on Clean Transportation. The course will be offered on line in the Spring 2013 semester.
May 2011-April 2012
B Lab is the non-profit organization which certifies, promotes, and supports B Corporations, a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to create social and environmental impact. The B Impact Ratings System, the central governance tool of B Lab, is an assessment tool that measures companies’ social and environmental performance in the impact areas of accountability, employees, community, environment, and consumers.
Dr. Blake is the project consultant leading an independent Health and Safety Working Group in the expansion of the B Impact assessment metrics in the areas of worker health and safety and product life-cycle impact.
She convened a Health and Safety Working Group of 12 subject matter experts; generated additions to B Impact Assessment for Benefit Corporations in the areas of worker health and safety and product life-cycle toxicity; interviewed technical experts and B Corporations to alpha test additions, which will be incorporated into the B Impact Assessment Version 4.0 in 2012.
WAGES‘ mission is to build worker-owned green businesses that create healthy, dignified jobs for low-income women. In our network of eco-friendly housecleaning cooperatives, women develop personal and professional skills, become leaders, and gain economic security. WAGES is currently expanding its cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area, starting with San Francisco itself, in partnership with Seventh Generation, the leading provider of less toxic home cleaning solutions. Ann Blake has been a member of the WAGES Board since 2003, chaired the Board from 2004-2008, and currently serves as Board co-chair.
EPHC is working with the Blue Green Alliance to design and develop a worker chemical hazard and alternatives tool (ChemHAT) to launch on Labor Day, 2012. ChemHAT will provide easily accessible hazard information, and we plan to build it out to include information on safer alternatives searchable by workplace and/or work process.