On behalf of Friends of the Earth and our bee friends, I want to congratulate RONA on its commitment and performance to reduce the use of neonicotinoids in its nursery plants. Last year, Friends of the Earth tested flowering plants meant to be “bee-friendly” in 18 cities in North America. Over 50% of the flowering plants showed bee-harmful levels of neonicotinoids.

So here’s the good news for bees and gardeners. RONA discloses that 70% of all plants sold in their corporate RONA and Reno-Depot stores are neonic-free. It seems that the 30% that may contain neonics are likely to be hanging baskets and exotics like tropical indoor plants. For 2016, RONA commits to requiring all its suppliers to clearly identify their products as containing or not containing neonicotinoids. 

RONA, which is known for its over 2000 eco-responsible products based on lifecycle assessment, is going the extra mile for its customers – until it can get the labelling in place next year, any customer can ask an employee to check the SKU listing on their plants to make sure they’re neonic-free. This is an important corporate response to customer concerns about the survival of honey bees and wild bees and one that I urge other garden centres to replicate pdq. This means you Canadian Tire, Sears, Loblaws, Sobeys and more.

 I also want to comment on RONA’s language of “encouraging its suppliers to reduce the use of these insecticides”. You might think RONA expects to get a better response with honey than vinegar in dealing with its suppliers. It surveyed its suppliers in order to disclose that 70% of their nursery plants are neonic-free. Clearly, the handwriting is on the wall – neonics are on their way out and the growers know it. With disclosure and or labelling in place, who would knowingly buy bee-harmful, neonic-contaminated plants for their garden?

You, my friends of the earth and bee friends, are the reason for this break through by RONA and the earlier announcements by Home Depot and Lowes. I hope you’ll keep up the good work and ASK ASK ASK when you’re visiting garden centres. Don’t buy neonic-contaminated plants. Don’t buy plants where staff can’t tell you if they’re neonic-free. The bees need you and you need the bees!

Click here to read RONA’s press release and announcement


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