CVS & Burberry Make Drastic Changes To Benefit Consumers’ Health

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Wanna know what the new trend in consumerism is? Caring about one’s health, apparently. Two major brands have announced they are making drastic changes to the products they offer in a bid to show they actually want to do something beneficial for you and I.

Last week luxury clothing label Burberry announced it was going to stop using chemicals in the manufacturing of its clothes, after Greenpeace found suspect toxins in a shirt they tested. Ironically, it was the same shirt that David and Victoria’s son Romeo Beckham models in their kids campaign.

The activist group tested the toxin levels in a number of labels, and they found hazardous materials including hormone disrupting substances, in children’s clothes made by 12 brands such as Disney, Adidas and Primark.

There is no evidence that the level of chemicals found would cause immediate harm, but would you want your kids to be wearing toxins every day, let alone an adult?

Since Greenpeace made the test results public, Burberry responded to the findings saying they are committing to changing the way they manufacture clothes.

“The global textile industry is notorious for using potentially hazardous chemicals. According to research, more than 550 types of dyes and over 3,000 chemicals of auxiliaries containing carcinogenic chemicals, hormone disruptors, or heavy metals, are restricted for use in textile products under China’s laws.” says the Guardian in relation to this issue. Those numbers are not exactly something to ignore.

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Burberry said they promise to completely get rid of all per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals from its supply-chain bu July 1st, 2016. This is a huge benchmark for mother luxury labels, as it means the pressure is on for them to follow suit. Now that this information is public, it could potentially damage their sales and customer loyalty.This isn’t the first time Greenpeace’s actions have forced change within a brand. In January 2013 Greenpeace found a whole load of hormone disrupting chemicals in Victoria’s Secret underwear and exposed the findings publicly. Limited Brands, the umbrella company of VS said it is committed to getting rid of all harmful toxins in its lingerie by 2020.

It is just us or does it seem crazy that it takes an independent study of chemicals for brands to realize what they are producing is harmful to humans? We definitely applaud both Victoria’s Secret and now Burberry for agreeing to make changes, but it is just shocking that these brands “weren’t aware” or turned a blind eye for so long.

Ilze Smit, Detox campaigner at Greenpeace International said: “Burberry’s Detox commitment to rid us of these hazardous little monsters represents a new chapter in the story of toxic-free fashion. In taking this landmark step, Burberry has listened to their customers’ demands and joins the ranks of brands acting on behalf of parents everywhere to give this toxic nightmare the happy ending it deserves.”

“Burberry’s move raises the bar for the luxury sector. With the Fashion Weeks coming up, brands like Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton risk getting left behind. From budget to luxury, we have a right to demand our clothes are free from hazardous chemicals and big brands have a responsibility to do something about it.”

Ah yes, the power of freedom of information. This is why the consumer voice is one of the most powerful agents of change. Don’t ever forget that.

Which brings us to CVS. The huge American Pharmacy chain is doing something no pharmacy has done yet in the United States: it is getting rid of ALL tobacco products, pledging to do this by October 2014. That is only 9 months away! In a statement on their website, CEO and President Larry Merlo says this is “the right thing to do”.

cvs-caremarkThere are 480,000 deaths from smoking annually in the United States, with 9 in 10 lung cancers caused by smoking. This statement was made the same day the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they are launching a $115 million campaign to discourage teens from smoking called The Real Cost.

The reason this move by CVS is significant, is because by not selling tobacco products they lose $2 BILLION in sales from that alone!

But they are more concerned about the welfare of their customer’s health, and their reputation as a healthcare provider, than just making a couple (billions) of bucks.”By removing tobacco products from our retail shelves, we will better serve our patients, clients and health care providers while positioning CVS Caremark for future growth as a health care company. Cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered. This is the right thing to do.”

CVS’ overall sales figures in 2012 were $123 billion, which means the ban of tobacco products from their shelves is less of a money issue, and more of a health standard they are committed to going forward. It is almost a no-brainer that they don’t sell tobacco, wouldn’t you agree?

Cigarette_BanKathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a statement that the CVS decision was “an unprecedented step in the retail industry” and predicted it would have “considerable impact.”

“Today’s CVS/Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation,” she said. “I hope others will follow their lead in this important step to curtail tobacco use.”

If more major brands were committed to banning anything that goes against the basic standard health care of its consumers, perhaps we would see better standards of advertising also. It is important for us everyday warriors to stand up for just causes and use our voice, but it is also amazing when powerful brands and people like Burberry and CVS stand a stand with the citizens and prove money isn’t the only thing they care about.

Watch the full statement video from CVS by Larry Merlo below and tell us your thoughts. Would you like to see more brands be eco and health conscious? Which brands do you think need to make changes to their product and manufacturing procedures?

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