deforestation

Target recognizes that the ecosystem services provided by forests around the world are irreplaceable. We commit to working with our owned brand suppliers to protect forests by eliminating deforestation and forest degradation from our value chain.

Background

Target recognizes that the ecosystem services provided by forests around the world are irreplaceable. Forests are critical to mitigating climate change, providing a carbon sink, fostering habitat for biodiversity, protecting water supplies, providing livelihoods for communities, and are a renewable resource for products and packaging throughout our supply chain. We commit to working with our owned brand suppliers to protect forests by eliminating deforestation and forest degradation from our value chain. More specifically, we will focus on eliminating deforestation of primary forests and areas of High Conservation Value [1], as well as High Carbon Stock [2] forest areas and peatlands (regardless of depth).  

Commitment and Targets

As a retailer with a wide variety of products, we understand the responsibility we have to protect forests around the world. We are committed to aiding in the global effort to end deforestation and forest degradation, and focus our efforts in the places we can have the most positive impact today – specifically palm oil and wood-based materials. 

We are committed to sustainably sourcing wood, paper, and wood-based fibers in our priority owned brands; palm in all of our owned brands; and wood-based fibers in our owned brand packaging. We will build on our existing priority raw material commitments by evaluating high-risk commodities – including soy, leather, and rubber – and their material significance to Target. Where necessary, we will address salient issues with relevant time-bound and measurable goals.

Furthermore, Target recognizes that forests are not the only ecosystem under threat from commodity production. We are currently undertaking efforts to identify how and where conversion of other types of natural habitat, like grasslands and savannahs, touches our supply chain, such as our domestic beef supply chain.

Details by Commodity or Impact

Target has already taken the important steps of addressing critical aspects of forest protection in our business and supply chain:

Forest Products

We support responsibly managed forests, and to that end, introduced our new Responsible Sourcing Policy on Forest Products in 2017. This policy helps us toward our long-term intention that all wood, paper, paper-based packaging and wood-based fiber used in the owned brand products we purchase and sell is sourced from well-managed forests that have been credibly certified and/or are from post-consumer recycled materials. We also expect timber to not be harvested in violation of traditional or civil rights, per credible certifying organizations.[3] We’ve started with products containing wood or pa­per-based materials, like tissues and paper towels, wrapping paper, furniture and wood-based fibers used in textiles, such as rayon. We also are working on sourcing our owned-brands’ packaging from sustainably managed forests.

By the end of fiscal year 2018, we expect that the Spritz brand will be our first owned-brand to be fully compliant with our forest products policy. In 2017, the Spritz team started introducing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody certification and is on track to meet this goal. We have also committed to making our up&up, Pillowfort and Cat & Jack brands fully compliant with our forest products policy by 2020, and Threshold and Smith & Hawken fully compliant by 2022.

Palm Oil

We continue to work closely with our owned-brand vendor base to emphasize that in 2018, all palm oil in our owned-brand food (Market Pantry, Archer Farms, Simply Balanced), personal care (up&up) and household cleaning products (up&up) is required to be fully traceable and sustainably sourced. In 2017, 37.4 percent of palm oil in products covered by our commitment was certified sustainable via physical certification (Mass Balance or Segregated) or covered by PalmTrace credits. We expect that any new developments proceed on the basis of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), which is a key principle of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Target continues to engage its vendors on the implementation of Target’s responsible palm oil sourcing commitment through a biannual survey to determine the volume of palm oil and palm kernel oil used in the owned-brand products covered by its commitment, including the percentage that is certified as sustainable, classified across PalmTrace­ Credits, Mass Balance and Segregated. Our commitment covers palm volumes purchased directly by our vendors for use in products, vendors that source palm oil indirectly through finished product components and vendors that source palm oil and kernel derivatives in household and personal care products.

In 2017, Target:

  • Continued collecting and validating volume and traceability data from all vendors, including supplier engagement and active follow-up, with our partner, Proforest
  • Engaged with key importers into the U.S. market on traceability
  • Engaged critical vendors regarding their path toward Target policy compliance
  • Supported vendors/suppliers on process to deliver certified products
  • Shared tools, training materials and guidance documents to aid commitment implementation
  • Joined the RSPO's North American Sustainable Palm Oil Network, designed to facilitate cross-sector work in a pre-competitive space on the sourcing of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in North America, foster collaboration and impact programs in producing nations and to share best practices.

Soy

The majority of soy used in our supply chain is in the feed in the animal protein products we sell. Because of the domestic nature of our owned brand meat supply, this sourcing does not pose a material deforestation risk.

Soy is also a prevalent ingredient in packaged goods. However, based on the nature of this commodity, traceability and sourcing locations can be difficult to isolate. In 2019 we will research our deforestation exposure and create a plan commensurate with our findings.

Cattle

Within our owned brands, cattle sourcing takes two forms – beef and leather. We have evaluated our owned brand sourcing position in beef, and recognize that with our sourcing locations of the US and Australia (grass-fed) – we have a limited deforestation impact. We are joining the US Roundtable on Sustainable Beef to ensure we are sourcing beef responsibly where it is most material to our business.

We are also a member of the Leather Working Group, and through that effort have been collecting data on our leather sourcing volumes. In 2019 we will create an appropriate plan to address leather based off those findings.

Rubber

Southeast Asia supplies 90 percent of the world’s rubber, and this demand has caused significant deforestation. Our initial data collection efforts have indicated that the rubber in some of our owned brand products is likely in these regions. As such, we have started conversations with external stakeholders and other brands to determine how we might best mitigate our impact in this commodity and engage in multi-stakeholder engagements.

Packaging Goals

In 2017 we announced five new packaging goals, including sourcing all owned brand paper-based packaging from sustainably managed forests by 2022. We are currently working with our vendors to understand the origin of raw materials that go into our owned-brand paper-based packaging to source from sustainably managed forests that will inform a baseline and strong foundation to activate against this goal.

We are a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to leverage our collective power as an industry to make packaging more sustainable, including sourcing packaging responsibly.

Climate Policy

We recognize that one of many devastating effects of deforestation is its contribution to climate change. Trees remove carbon dioxide, and when they are cut down we lose not only the value of carbon capture, but those trees also release stored carbon. We currently have goals to address Scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint. By the end of 2018, Target will develop an additional Scope 3 goal that, coupled with our Scope 1 and 2 goal, will fulfill our commitment to the Science-Based Targets initiative. These goals build on our commitments to source 100% renewable energy and improve energy effi­ciency in our domestic operations.

Freshwater Stewardship Approach

Water, is one of our world’s most critical natural resources. Deforestation and forest degradation have had negative impacts on many global watersheds and a decline in water quality and quantity around the globe. As we believe that clean, drinkable water and sanitation are human rights and should be accessible for all, we recognize the interdependence of clean water and forests. In acting as stewards of freshwater, we recognize our current and future efforts to end deforestation are directly related to our water efforts.

Implementation

As we learn more about our supply chains and the opportunities available to meet our commitment, we will adjust our activities as appropriate. Moving forward, our Corporate Responsibility team, alongside key internal and external partners will continue to identify high-risk commodities, illuminate opportunities to amend our sourcing practices, and define verification, measurement and reporting processes for these commodities. Where appropriate, we will also partner with third parties, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and other partners to address systemic issues. Finally, we’ll work collaboratively with our suppliers and critical business drivers and update stakeholders on an annual basis on the outcomes of our work via the Corporate Responsibility Report.

 

[1] High Conservation Values (HCVs) are biological, ecological, social or cultural values which are outstandingly significant or critically important at the national, regional, or global level. There are 6 defined types of HCV areas; visit the HCV Resource Network for more information.

[2] High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests can be identified through a standardized methodology based on analysis of satellite data and ground survey measurement. Visit the HCS Approach website for more information.

[3] Target recognizes Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and PEFC certifications as credible forest certification systems, with a preference for FSC. Other certifications may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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“By committing to transparency and engaging with key multi-stakeholder groups, Target is taking an important first step in its journey to eliminate deforestation and forest degradation across its supply chain. Through the effective implementation of its commitments, including working on the ground with its suppliers for multiple commodities, Target will help catalyze much-needed action on this critical conservation challenge.”

Amy Smith
Deputy Director, Forests, World Wildlife Fund