Case: Coop, Denmark
UPSTREAM: Eco-Design of Own Brand Products
Description of initiative: Based on some years of experiences on limiting endocrine disrupters in their products, Coop Denmark took a decision in 2009 on phasing out all potentially endocrine disrupting substances in own brands, that is products from the Änglamark, Coop and X-tra brands. The goal was reached in 2010 with the elimination of methylparaben in shaving foam from the X-tra product range. The last product containing endocrine disrupters, the X-tra toothpaste, was removed from the product range as the alternative without methylparaben became too expensive for the discount brand X-tra.
The exclusion of the toothpaste from the product range due to higher prices illustrates one of the challenges in eliminating the endocrine disrupters as the alternatives are often more expensive. Besides, Coop had to build up expertise within the area to deal with the technical and environmental aspects in their products.
The total ban of endocrine disrupters in own brand products is a part of Coops overall objective to make it easier for the consumers to choose healthy, non-harming products. Understanding the technical and chemical aspects of products is a very complicated area where information as a single tool to support phasing out of substances like endocrine disrupters will probably not be successful. As there are alternatives to the potentially endocrine disrupters, Coop decided to set up the requirement to all suppliers of their own brand products.
Effect of initiative: For Coop, the growing sales of the high-end Änglamark products are an important indicator for consumer interest. Given the choice, consumers are willing to buy more healthy and more environmentally friendly products. Coop decided to develop the Änglamark series to make such a choice easier for the consumers – and they respond positively in their purchasing behaviour.
Time period: Coop has worked on reducing the endocrine disrupters in the products for quite some years and in 2009, the decision on a total ban in all their own brand products was taken.
Future work: There are no specific plans for the future work related to eliminating endocrine disrupters in the products as Coop can only decide for the recipes of their own brands, not for other brands.
Contact: Katrine Milman, Coop
Links: (in Danish) See Coop, Ansvarlighedsrapport2009