Bee lovers to Lowes: Show bees some love, stop killing them with pesticides
Retailer lagging behind competitors in taking action to save bees
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bee lovers across the U.S. and Canada are “swarming” Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) retail stores this Valentine’s Day, asking them to “show bees some love” by taking bee-killing pesticides off their shelves, as other stores are doing.
More than one million petition signatures have already been delivered to Lowe’s by Friends of the Earth and allies, urging the retailer to eliminate products and plants treated with pesticides called neonicotinoids — often called neonics — that have been shown to harm and kill bees. Home garden plants sold at Lowe’s have been found to contain the harmful pesticide, with no warning to consumers.
Unlike its competitors, Lowe’s has failed to make any public commitments to stop selling off-the-shelf neonicotinoid pesticide products or plants pretreated with these bee-killing pesticides. Friends of the Earth and more than 20 consumer, food, gardening, beekeeping, environmental and health organizations are urging consumers not to buy neonicotinoid products or home garden plants at Lowe’s until the retailer commits to taking the pesticides off its shelves.
“The science is clear that neonicotinoid pesticides are a core contributor to bee declines that threaten our food supply. Responsible retailers are stepping up to protect bees and eliminate neonicotinoids from their shelves,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth.“Lowe’s needs to stop contributing to the bee crisis and help ensure our backyard gardens and communities are safe havens for bees. In the meantime, gardeners can help by planting untreated seeds or choosing organic plants for their gardens.”
More than a dozen nurseries, landscaping companies and retailers in the U.S. and Canada are taking steps to protect bees by reducing neonicotinoid use. Actions by Lowe’s competitors include:
Home Depot (NYSE: HD), the world’s largest home improvement retailer, requires its suppliers to label all plants treated with neonicotinoid pesticides and is working with its suppliers to “find alternative insecticides for protecting live goods and bees.”
BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ: US), with more than 200 locations in 15 states, announced it will require vendors to remove neonicotinoids from plants by the end of 2014 or ensure plants carry warning labels.
Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM) issued a new produce rating system that identifies pollinator protection as a priority by restricting neonicotinoid pesticides.
Homebase, B&Q and Wickes, the UK’s top garden retailers, voluntarily stopped selling neonicotinoids in 2013.
Friends of the Earth U.S. is partnering with Bee Safe Neighborhoods, Beyond Pesticides, Beyond Toxics, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Clean Water Action, CREDO Mobilize, Ecology Center, Environmental Youth Council, Food Babe, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth Canada, GMO Inside, Green America, Mercola.com, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network, Planet Rehab, Smart on Pesticides Coalition, SumOfUs and Toxic Free North Carolina to help educate and activate concerned individuals across the country to deliver this message to Lowe’s stores in person and on social media.
Expert contact: Tiffany Finck-Haynes, (202) 222-0715, [email protected]
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, [email protected]