chemicals

Making informed choices should be simple. Our industry-first strategy is designed to help us manage chemicals across our business and serve up better product options for our guests and their families.

featured content

our strategy

Our guests want to know about the chemicals used to make their favorite products, and they look to Target for better options for their families. So in 2017, we launched a new strategy, including a chemical policy and goals, to help us manage chemicals across our assortment and operations.

We believe that by supporting our vendors in being more transparent about the ingredients in products, we can spur innovation across all of our product categories and operations, and help reduce unwanted substances from the homes and workplaces of millions of guests.

our goals

We introduced our first set of goals in 2017, aimed at addressing unwanted chemicals with the biggest potential health impact, and factoring in their prevalence within our products. The goals also prioritize products guests tell us are most important to them—like the ones that go in, on and around their bodies.

Transparency

  • Achieve transparency to all ingredients, including generics such as ‘fragrance’, in beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning formulated products by 2020.

Chemical Management

  • Improve textile products by removing added Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFC’s) from products by 2022.
  • Improve textile products by removing added flame retardants that are potential carcinogens or pose harm to the guest, workers or communities by 2022.
  • Improve beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning product categories by formulating without phthalates, propyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-donors, or NPE’s by 2020.

Innovation

  • Invest up to $5 million in green chemistry innovation by 2022.

read more about our goals and reporting

green chemistry & safer alternatives innovation

One of the ways we’re meeting our Innovation commitment is by using our philanthropic resources to support the work of organizations driving innovation across the chemicals value chain.

We requested proposals from nonprofit organizations, schools or public agencies committed to driving systems change to advance green chemistry in any of the following four key areas: Awareness, Transparency, Chemical Assessment and Safer Alternatives.

view the grant recipients

it takes teamwork

How do we do it? We’re working closely with our vendors, supply chain partners, NGOs and other stakeholders across the industry to identify unwanted substances in products and operations, understand how they impact health, and work to develop safer alternatives.

Meet some of our partners:

our neonicotinoids management efforts

In an effort to do our part to address the growing evidence suggesting that the use of neonicotinoids (neonics) insecticides may be harmful to bee populations, we set out to understand where they are used on Target properties, beginning in 2018. As part of these efforts, we issued a questionnaire to our vendors, which not only included suppliers of the insecticides, but also our landscaping contractors. This led us to develop a system that allows us to proactively manage and track vendors’ use of neonics on our grounds and landscaping.

As vendors use neonics on Target properties, they are required to document the specific neonic used, reason for use, type of application and the Target location. We will track and monitor this data on a rolling basis and leverage the knowledge of our expert partners to help analyze the results and provide additional insight. Our aim is to have an in-depth understanding of where neonics are used on Target properties in order to develop better risk management options and best practices around managing neonics in the future.

our policy

Target is committed to driving transparency, proactive chemical management and innovation across all of our owned and national brand consumer products, and operations. We’ll do it through...

Transparency. We’ll strive for full visibility to chemicals contained in or used to make the products we sell and use in our operations.

Chemical management. We’ll work with business partners to implement policies, practices and tools that facilitate the management of chemicals throughout our supply chain and across our operations.

Innovation. We recognize that safer alternatives may not exist today for some chemicals, therefore we will actively pursue and promote new approaches to chemicals development and the commercialization of safer alternatives.

view our full chemical policy

implementing our strategy

Our chemical policy is an integral part of our enterprise-wide sustainability commitments and overarching responsible sourcing aspirations. We believe that by supporting our vendors in being more transparent about the ingredients in products, we can spur innovation across all of our product categories and operations and help reduce unwanted substances from the homes and workplaces of millions of guests.

One key principle of our chemical policy is the desire to find safer alternatives and avoid regrettable substitutions. We’ve made detailed guidance and resources available to our suppliers on how to find, assess, compare and select safer alternatives to harmful chemicals in their products and how to avoid regrettable substitutions.

textile product categories

As part of our chemical policy commitments, we are actively working to make progress toward greater transparency, better chemical management and innovation in our textiles products. When we announced our chemical policy in 2017, we set aspirational goals toward removing added perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) and unwanted flame retardants from all of our textile products by 2022. 

We also stated we would utilize a restricted substance list as applicable for Target product. This will be done by restricting chemicals in our manufacturing processes (MRSL) and through an additional list restricting chemicals in the product (RSL).

For our MRSL/RSL, this will apply to all Owned Brand Products for Target and includes the following product and facility types.

  • Clothing (entire garment/textile product including trims)
  • Non-clothing (furniture, bedding, footwear, umbrellas, etc.) fabric only
  • Facility (MRSL only) – Clothing, non-clothing – fabric: dyeing/finishing forward

The effective date for RSL is product manufactured on or after January 1, 2020. As of 2018, Target became a signatory brand of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme and adopted the ZDHC MRSL. It is expected that our suppliers adopt, utilize and have access to the ZDHC tools (ZDHC Gateway, Reporting, etc.) and comply with these requirements.

We have and will continue to provide our vendors guidance on our RSL, MRSL and chemical management via our online supplier platform. We know that our vendors and manufacturing supply chain play the biggest part in ensuring we are driving continuous improvement in meeting our chemical policy expectations. We will continue to work with vendors and supply chain partners on our ongoing efforts toward meeting our chemical policy goals and objectives.

view additional information on our textiles work

formulated essentials product categories

To meet our 2020 goals, we are implementing solutions that facilitate increased access to ingredient information, remove unwanted chemicals in the products we sell and provide safer chemical alternatives. These are enormous tasks with no easy answers, so we are investing resources and expertise, especially where no viable solutions currently exist.

For example, our work during the GC3 Preservatives Challenge to drive innovation in the preservatives category, has helped to advance greener chemistry in beauty and personal care products. Furthermore, we will continue to use our chemical policy and goals as the foundation for our formulated products, and other initiatives will build on this foundation, such as our Wellness Icon work and Target Clean standard

As our chemical policy states, “Target will approach transparency in the supply chain as an iterative process, continually adding more product categories and achieving increasing levels of transparency.” We encourage all supply chain partners to find paths allowing full material disclosure to consumers, and support those who are actively going above and beyond the current transparency regulations. View our three-page vendor guidance on meeting our current ingredient and transparency expectations, which represent a step-wise approach to the full consumer disclosure we ultimately seek.

good to know

  • Target is the first U.S. retailer to introduce a chemical strategy that addresses our entire value chain, operations and every product we sell

quote block

This announcement is a huge win for consumer transparency and we're thrilled that Target is taking this step. It’s a forward-thinking policy like this that will drive industry change, ensuring that the health of our planet and its people are never compromised for profit.

John Replogle
CEO, Seventh Generation