This week Friends of the Earth and allies delivered letters and pledges by 33,013 Americans vowing to take their business elsewhere until Ace Hardware and True Value follow other industry leaders and make public commitments to stop selling bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. Thousands of customers are signing petitions, making calls and showing up in person at these retailers urging the stores to stop selling bee-killing pesticides and plants treated with the pesticides.
Last year, Ace Hardware and True Value announced “willingness” to move away from products containing neonicotinoids by 2019. However, neither company has yet responded to requests to clarify how they will commit to a firm timeline to stop selling off-the-shelf products and plants containing these pesticides.
“Ace Hardware and True Value have stated ‘willingness’ to move away from bee-toxic neonicotinoids. But willingness won’t help save bees; getting these pesticides off their shelves and out of our communities will,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Until they make a commitment and join other retailers across the country to help address the bee crisis, thousands of loyal customers will take their business elsewhere.”
Protecting bees is not difficult, as one Portland-based True Value store demonstrated. Hankin’s True Value Hardware is stepping up to contribute to solving the bee decline problem. Hankin’s owners have taken all products containing neonicotinoids off their shelves. Hankin’s also sponsors a honey bee hive and an organic garden on their urban property. When owner Lois Hankins announced her store’s bee friendly plan as “just the right thing to do,” a crowd of customers gathered outside and cheered, “We’re Thankin’ Hankins!”
According to Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey, in which 255 growers responded, a large number of growers are eliminating the use of neonicotinoids in production this year (64 percent overall), led mostly by small growers (69 percent), followed by large growers (57 percent) and medium-sized growers (56 percent) .
In December 2015, Home Depot announced it has removed neonicotinoid pesticides from 80 percent its flowering plants and it will complete its phase-out in plants by 2018. Lowe’s made a public commitment to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores including products and plants treated with them, redouble existing integrated pest management practices for suppliers and provide additional material educating customers about pollinator health.
“The marketplace is shifting. It’s past time for Ace and True Value to step up to the plate and follow other industry leaders by making a firm commitment to eliminate bee-killing pesticides from both plants and off-the-shelf products,” said Lisa Arkin, from Oregon’s Beyond Toxics, which partners with Hankin’s True Value Hardware.