As a retailer and employer of approximately 323,000 team members, we play a constructive role in informing policymakers about many legislative issues. We advocate at all levels of government, with trade associations and policy-based organizations, to ensure that the impact legislative and regulatory issues have on our business, industry, communities and team members is understood.
When directly advocating on positions important to our business, we rely on leaders throughout the company who have expertise to lend to policy discussions. We also provide opportunities for our team members to learn about issues affecting Target and how to communicate with their elected representatives.
Recently, we’ve shared expertise and engaged in lobbying activities on a number of issues important to our company and the retail industry. Although the specific issues vary with legislative activity and schedules, they include taxes, trade, product safety, sustainability, data security, health care, and employment and labor issues.
In 2016, our direct advocacy focused on new store expansion, employee scheduling and trade. We view these issues as our top priorities because of their effect on the retail industry and, more specifically, the direct and significant impact to our business. We also identified these issues as top priorities when working with trade associations and retail peer companies.
New Store Expansion
At Target, one of our strengths is the flexibility in our store design. Recently, we introduced small format stores in locations where a traditional Target would not fit, such as urban markets and near college campuses across the country. From Berkeley, California to TriBeCa, New York, these stores vary in size and assortment, and allow us to create a more locally-relevant experience for guests.
Opening new stores in new markets brings new challenges and new opportunities for Target to engage with elected officials on issues important to our business. In 2016, we worked proactively with community leaders and elected officials to enable our business expansion and address issues ranging from traffic flow to alcohol sales.
As Target continues to grow and find new ways to serve our guests, we’ll continue to work hand-in-hand with the elected officials that represent our new stores and our new communities.
Our stores attract a diverse and talented pool of team members, in part because we offer flexible scheduling policies. Hourly team members establish the hours they are available to work, and Target builds schedules around their availability according to business needs. In 2016, a number of cities and states introduced legislation that would mandate how retailers and other businesses schedule employees and even how they communicate schedule changes to their teams.
In close partnership with HQ business teams and store leaders, as well as many of our retail peers, Target met with elected officials on scheduling proposals. Our goal was to have constructive conversations where we can share the potential impacts of scheduling legislation on our business, team members and guests.
In 2016, Target supported U.S. trade policy to reduce import duty costs and lower barriers for the free flow of goods and services across borders. Trade agreements reduce high import taxes, which can reach 30 percent, helping Target pass on value to our guests.
International trade supports millions of American jobs throughout the global value chain, which keeps Americans working while growing our economy. From imagining and designing the products that we make, to engineering and sourcing according to Target’s quality standards, American team members are a large part of the retail supply chain that delivers a great shopping experience for our guests.
Target also engages with federal agencies, non-profit partners, trade associations, and other retailers to benchmark our responsible sourcing best practices to ensure our products are produced ethically and in accordance with our Standards of Vendor Engagement. By helping government and nonprofit organizations better understand how we manage our supply chain responsibly and apply industry best practices, we help elevate and improve responsible sourcing across our industry.
Target publicly reports its advocacy activities every three months as required by law with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate and the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Our recent reports are available below:
We also indirectly engage in advocacy through our memberships in trade associations and other policy-based organizations, which support their member companies by offering educational forums, public policy advocacy and advancement of issues of common concern. Given the diversity of interests, viewpoints and broad membership represented by these organizations, the positions they take do not always reflect Target’s views.
Our financial support of trade associations and other policy-based organizations is limited to educational, lobbying and association management activities. We expressly require that our financial contributions to these organizations not be used for making campaign contributions to candidates or to influence the outcome of specific elections or ballot initiatives.
We report the identity of the trade associations and other policy-based organizations that we support, together with the aggregate amount of our financial support. In addition, because membership dues used for lobbying activities are not deductible for U.S. tax purposes, we also show the portion of our total dues that are not tax deductible.
Information on our support of trade associations and other policy-based organizations is updated twice per year (January and July) and is available below: