Danish supermarket drops fabric softener

Retail giant Coop announced that environmental concerns have led it to stop selling fabric softener at its Irma stores.

Danish supermarket drops fabric softener
Although the sale of fabric softener will stop at Irma stores, it will continue at Coop's other supermarkets. Photo: Jonas Skovbjerg Fogh/Scanpix
The upscale Danish supermarket chain Irma will no longer sell fabric softener, saying it is an unnecessary product that harms the environment. 
The decision was announced by Coop Danmark, which in addition to Irma, operates the grocery chains Kvickly, Fakta and Superbrugsen. 
Fabric softener will still be sold in the other stores. 
“We know that our customers are very aware of the environment and they expect us to show responsibility,” Signe Frese, the head of CSR for Coop, said in a statement. 
The drinking water and waste water organisation DANVA praised the decision.
“We should focus on stopping pollution at the source. Fabric softener is an unnecessary additive that increases the burden on wastewater plants and at the same time affects the water environment because the treatment plants cannot completely remove the chemicals,” DANVA’s Helle Katrine Andersen said in a statement. 
On the decision to continue to sell fabric softener in its other chains, Coop’s Frese said that not all of the retailer’s customers “are ready for this journey yet”. 
“If we eliminate it from Coop, it will just mean that consumers can go over to another store and buy it if they are unaware of the environmental pollution they are helping to cause,” Frese told DR. 
According to a Coop analysis, 47 percent of Danes use fabric softener. 

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‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.