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Rona lays down the eco line

Rona, one of Canada’s largest chain of home improvement retail outlets, has released a new Responsible Procurement Policy (RPP) to govern its purchasing of wood products, lawn and garden merchandise, and all goods sold in its stores or services used by its companies.

“This new initiative confirms our commitment to our supply chains by showing respect for human dignity and protection of the environment, which is central to our entire approach,” said Rona president and CEO Robert Dutton. “We firmly believe that product selection and supplier mobilization are the key factors by which we can exercise our leadership in sustainable development while ensuring the greatest possible respect for our values."

This new policy is an update of the Responsible Buying Code introduced in 2002. It encompasses the specific procurement policies already introduced by the company for certain products, including the wood products procurement policy and the policy ending sales of synthetic cosmetic pesticides. The Rona RPP will go into effect in January 2011.

Sweeping in scope, the Rona codes address everything from climate change and water quality to protection of indigenous people and the right to collective bargaining. It will be implemented gradually, Rona said, with the first phase targeting the company’s own Rona ECO and Eco-responsible products, sold under a private and controlled brand, and products that Rona imports through its Shanghai office or other intermediaries.

Rona said it will begin to implement the policy by “devoting [resources] first and foremost to strengthening our employees' and suppliers' capacity to better understand the principles of this policy and participate in its implementation,” said Norman Dumont, Rona executive VP merchandising. “Our strategy for implementation will be based on dialogue with our front-line suppliers, who will in turn be invited to do the same with their own subcontractors. In this way we hope to generate a commitment from all parties to continuous improvement of their social and environmental performance. Suppliers' ability to comply with our policy will be a decisive factor in our business relationships.”

Rona operates a network of nearly 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats, with annual retail sales of approximately C$6 billion.

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