Ace Hardware commits to action on bee-killing pesticides
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ace Hardware, the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world, announced it is willing to move away from products containing neonicotinoids — a leading driver of global bee declines. Frank Carroll, Vice President of Merchandising at Ace Hardware Corporation said in a release today, “Ace Hardware will be diligent in working with our vendors to take appropriate action to protect pollinators.”
“We are pleased Ace is listening to consumer concerns and to the growing body of science telling us we need to move away from bee-toxic pesticides to address the bee crisis,” said Lisa Archer, Food and Technology program director at Friends of the Earth. “Along with our allies, we will continue to work with Ace and other retailers to move neonicotinoid pesticides off their shelves and out of garden plants as soon as possible to ensure bees can find save havens in our backyards and communities. Bees are the canary in the coal mine for our food system and everyone, including the business community, must act fast to protect them.”
This announcement follows a recent campaign launched by Friends of the Earth and allies to urge Ace and other garden retailers to stop selling plants treated with neonicotinoids and remove neonic pesticides from their shelves. Thousands of people signed petitions and made calls to Ace Hardware to urge them to make this change.
A study released by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute, Gardeners Beware 2014, showed that 51 percent of garden plants purchased at Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides at levels that could harm or even kill bees. In the past year, more than twenty nurseries, landscaping companies and retailers — including Home Depot and Lowe’s, the world’s largest home improvement retailers, Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM) and BJ’s Wholesale Club — have taken steps to eliminate bee-killing pesticides from their stores. The UK’s top garden retailers including Homebase, B&Q and Wickes, have also stopped selling neonicotinoids.
“With a new spring planting season upon us, it’s important for gardeners to be aware that many plants in stores today still contain neonicotinoids. We look forward to the day when we can all buy home garden plants without worrying about harming pollinators. In the meantime, gardeners should choose organic and neonic-free starts, seeds and soil,” said Archer.
Ace’s announcement comes several weeks after the Obama administration released its National Pollinator Health Strategy, a requirement of the Pollinator Health Task Force, established by the White House this past June, which was charged with improving pollinator health, including assessing the impacts of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on pollinators. The final plan aimed at reversing honeybee and monarch declines by focusing on planting millions of acres of federal land with pollinator-friendly flowers and conducting more research into the causes of pollinator declines, including the effects of pesticides on pollinator health. The plan did not restrict current uses of neonicotinoid pesticides. In March, more than four million Americans signed petitions calling on the Obama administration to put forth strong protections for bees and other pollinators.
In October, 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality issued guidance for federal facilities and federal lands which included acquiring seeds and plants from nurseries that do not treat these items with systemic insecticides. On April 2, the EPA announced a moratorium on new or expanded uses of neonicotinoids while it evaluates the risks posed to pollinators.