Ask Costco to “Mind the Store”

Costco products are a staple in congregational life. Affordable housewares help furnish houses of worship, bulk-sized cleaning products keep supply closets full, and a wide selection of organic food provides for many a church potluck and parish coffee hour. 

Although known as a responsible Northwest company, you may be as shocked as we are to learn that Costco is failing to announce a public policy to reduce toxic chemicals in products they sell. In a recent report evaluating some of the largest retailers on their efforts to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in products sold in their stores, Washington state-based company Costco received the lowest letter grade “F”. In comparison, Target and Wal-Mart both received “B’s”.

Boy in cart at Costco

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

People of faith know that we have an ethical obligation to protect present and future generations from toxic contamination in our homes, in our food, and in the products we use every day. We want Costco to reflect our faith values that call us to care for each other and the planet in a way that brings about justice for all of God’s children. 

It is far past time for Costco to “mind the store” and announce a safe chemicals policy with clear public timelines and benchmarks. If you are a Costco member, we need your help!

Please complete the comment form below to share your concerns about Costco’s continued failure to announce a public safe chemicals policy. Be sure to include why you care as a person of faith! Earth Ministry will compile and deliver your comments to show that religious communities are asking that Costco mind the store in a way that exemplifies true Northwest values. 

Update: Since the Mind the Store retailer report card was published, Costco recently updated its website describing the development and implementation of a Costco Restricted Chemical List (RSL) and Smart Screening Program for toxic chemicals. This is a step in the right direction, but not enough to meet rising consumer demand for transparency and safer products. Costco’s customers want to see a concrete commitment from the company to reduce toxic chemicals in products it sells. We hope Costco will take the next step by announcing a robust safer chemicals policy with clear benchmarks and timeframes to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals in products they sell.


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Sample Comments:
“I’m a member and I want to know that Costco is taking steps to ensure products don’t contain harmful toxic chemicals. I’m also a person of faith who believes we have a moral obligation to protect present and future generation from toxic contamination. Please tell management to publicly adopt a safer chemicals policy like Target’s or Walmart’s, with clear public timelines and benchmarks.”

“I’m a member and I can’t believe Costco is behind Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Target when it comes to having a public policy reducing toxic chemicals. As a person of faith, I want to support responsible companies that are key to transforming the marketplace away from harmful chemicals. Please adopt a public safer chemicals policy like Target’s or Walmart’s that includes clear public timelines and benchmarks.”

Earth Ministry is working on this campaign in partnership with Toxic-Free Future as part of the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition.