Product & Packaging Design
From elevating sustainable national, local and emerging brands to designing our owned brands to meet our sustainability standards, we aspire to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences by 2030. We are taking steps to integrate circular design principles into our product development processes as we advance our plans for 100% of our owned brand products to be designed for a circular future by 2040.
Even a few small lifestyle changes can make a big difference for the planet, so we offer a range of products that make it easier for guests and team members to incorporate more sustainable choices into their lives.
Enhancing the circularity of our owned brands
Guests come to Target looking for easy ways to bring sustainable practices into their daily routines, so we help them out by offering a wide selection of sustainable products that are also affordable and convenient.
Our commitment to providing these options for guests to live and lean into their own sustainability journeys begins with our sourcing practices and policies, both for people and the environment. As our teams design and develop owned brand products and work alongside national and emerging brand partners, our Target Forward goals help guide decisions to make more circular and transparent products available. Material choice is key to designing products for a more sustainable future, and our material policies and goals help direct our work.
Owned brand examples of sustainable choices
As we continue to develop frameworks and ways to evaluate what makes a ‘more sustainable product’ across our assortment, we’ll lean into the work already achieved by these owned brands.
Our Universal Thread denim team is working to enable a future where these jeans can be recaptured in a closed loop by supporting the Better Cotton Initiative and using materials such as recycled cotton and recycled polyester. By considering wash finishes that reduce water, Universal Thread has also contributed to over 30% of Target’s total apparel wash water reductions. Our designers also utilize 3D technologies for garment fittings to reduce the number of samples needed. Our team is also always thinking about the human impact of garments, and through our partnership with Fair Trade USA has had our factories certified; this has impacted 41,557 lives to date. Finally, to ensure inclusivity was at the core of the brand, the team designed an adaptive jean that features elements like no back pockets, a stretch waistband and side zippers at the hem for any adaptive needs.
Target is expanding our partnership with EON, a retail product cloud platform, to create unique Digital IDs for Universal Thread denim and sportswear products. Through this partnership, guests will be able to scan a QR code embedded into the product label to learn more about the manufacturing and sustainability elements associated with that product. In the future, this technology could facilitate resale and textile recycling by offering detailed product information with the scan of the QR code.
Spritz paper products are already Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The team has now designed and is offering compostable tableware and 95% recycled FSC-certified paper gift bags that are also designed for recyclability, and has also redesigned packaging to be recyclable. Further, it has designed and engineered its décor products, plastic serveware and gift bags to ensure multiple uses. The team is ultimately seeking to create products that are reusable, that are made from regenerative materials (or non-oil-based materials) and that can be recycled so they stay within a closed loop.
Kindfull’s brand statement, “Creating a World of Good for Your Pet,” reinforces our commitment to support all aspects of a pet's life, including mealtime, playtime, nap time and all the time in between. More than 40% of Kindfull items are in recyclable packaging, which supports our Target Forward ambition to innovate to eliminate waste, and the team is exploring how to use post-consumer recycled content in the packaging in the future, which will further support our packaging commitments. The team also took an industry-leading approach to expand our palm oil, animal welfare and seafood commitments into these products for pets — meeting human-food level standards for our favorite furry friends.
We continue to work toward our goal of reducing total volume of virgin plastic packaging by 20% in Food and Beverage and Essentials and Beauty businesses, measured against our total plastic packaging baseline in these categories in 2020.
One of the ways we are working to make progress against our plastic packaging goals is by exploring reuse and refill alternatives. This includes our commitment to explore at least five reuse programs to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics by 2025.
In 2022, we launched two of these pilots, including concentrated cleaning products from our owned brand Everspring and a pilot in partnership with Beyond the Bag which invites guests in New Jersey to check out reusable bags from our stores and return them for fresh ones during their next visit. We also aim to increase the use of post-consumer recycled content (PCR) in our owned brand packaging to 20% by 2025, and, in 2022, increased our use of PCR to 15%, up from 6% in 2021.
In assessing and redesigning owned brand product packaging for circularity, our engineering team considers and prioritizes the following:
- Designing for recycling.
- Designing for refill and reuse.
- Eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastics.
- Increasing post-consumer recycled material (PCR).
- Reducing and eliminating packaging.
To make recycling options clear for our guests, we continue to use the How2Recycle label on our owned brand packaging.
More details on our progress can be found in our annual reporting on sustainability and governance.
Finding what you need, made easy
In 2022, we launched Target Zero, a curated collection of products aiming to replace single-use packaging. Products and packaging marked with the Target Zero visual icon are designed to be refillable, reusable or compostable; concentrated; made from recycled content; or made from materials that reduce the use of virgin plastic. The collection includes over a thousand products from brands such as Burt’s Bees, PLUS, Saltair, Pacifica, Grove Co., Target’s owned brand Everspring and more.
We also Target launched Target Certified Refurbished, a program that refurbishes items from Target’s salvage stream1 and brings them back into Target inventory online. Target Certified Refurbished offers guests a like-new experience with a brand name product that has gone through an extensive QA/QC process; and a minimum six-month return policy. Target Certified Refurbished is in four initial product categories and will continue to expand.
1 Target’s salvage stream is made up of guest returns, defectives, and marked-out-of-stock product. Specifically, in reference to the Target Certified Refurbished program, the salvage stream is made up of guest returns.