Responsible Resource Use
We’re constantly co-creating solutions with supply chain partners to bring guests the products they want while considering the environment. We also seek to use our scale to create systems with far-reaching positive results.
Driving our efforts for responsibly sourcing materials and commodities are these strategic approaches:
Designing more of our products and packaging for a circular economy.
Using lower impact materials in our products.
Partnering to minimize environmental releases of fiber fragments and microplastics.
Following internal and industry best practice standards prohibiting the use of chemicals guests may not want.
We drive efforts internally and through our supply chain to source materials and commodities in increasingly responsible ways.
Goals and commitments
Target is committed to sourcing cotton more sustainably for our owned brand and exclusive national brand products by participating in programs designed to improve cotton growing practices and working conditions.
Target is committed to sourcing all owned brand paper-based retail packaging from sustainably managed forests1 by 2022, and rolling out implementation of our Forest Products Policy to Threshold and Smith & Hawken brands by end of 2022.
Our seafood sustainability commitment to include best practice requirements for the use of transshipment in tuna supply chains.
Target aims to use Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) physically certified palm oil, palm kernels and derivatives in relevant owned brand product categories and aiming to trace palm oil to mill level by the end of 2022.
By 2025, Target plans to comply with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’ (ZDHC) progressive level wastewater standard2, in regards to all owned brand apparel textile factories.
Updates on our goal progress can be found in our reporting on sustainability and governance.
Standards and certifications
Third-party standards help provide confidence in the practices used in our supply chain and help encourage positive change. To guide sourcing decisions for our owned brands, our suppliers utilize certifications including:
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
- Aquaculture Stewardship Council
- Best Aquaculture Practices
- Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
- Fair Trade USA
- Better Cotton Initiative
We communicate sustainability-related information of interest to our guests using clear icons on product labels to highlight such certifications.
Biodiversity commitments, partnerships and collaborations
We have set commitments for responsibly sourcing raw materials to help preserve forests and the species that rely on them, and improve local communities and their livelihoods. Both our forest products policy and palm oil commitments explicitly exclude conversion of High Conservation Value or High Carbon Stock forest areas. We are committed to relevant biodiversity partnerships, initiatives and disclosures.
Biodiversity impacts don’t stop at the raw materials and factory-level. The products that we design, produce and later purchase also have a role to play in protecting biodiversity. That is why we are working with a variety of initiatives and partners to help co-create a circular economy.
As we continue to build out further partnerships, we want to recognize our current collaborations that are closely related to biodiversity:
|Arvind||Funding a program with our apparel supplier to help 500 cotton farmers in India adopt organic and regenerative farming practices over the next five years.|
|BCI Farmers||Helping train farmers to use water efficiently, reduce their use of harmful chemicals and commit to respecting worker rights and well-being.|
|Cotton LEADS||Purchasing LEADS-certified products, which address environmental impacts on land and soil, biodiversity and carbon footprint, and accountability throughout the supply chain.|
|Earthworm Foundation||Partnering on our palm oil sustainability work, including our aspiration of traceability to the mill level in our palm oil supply chain.|
|Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture||Supporting continuous improvement in U.S. commodity agriculture as an Associate Member and a partner on a Continuous Improvement Accelerator Project.|
|FishWise||Partnering to monitor and continually improve the environmental sustainability, traceability and social impacts of farmed and wild-caught seafood.|
|The Nature Conservancy||Working as an implementation partner on initiatives to improve soil health and water stewardship.|
|U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB)||Representing the retail sector on the Board of the USRSB and working towards goals announced in April 2022, to make the U.S. beef industry more sustainable.|
We recognize the critical interconnections between climate and nature. Target is continuing to invest in regenerative agriculture and explore the best ways to integrate nature-based solutions into our strategy and action matrix.
Because of the importance of soil carbon, Target is engaged alongside other major companies in the Nebraska Soil Carbon Project, a five-year, $8.5 million initiative to support Nebraska farmers in advancing soil health techniques. Target is also collaborating with MBOLD, The Nature Conservancy and Hormel Foods on a $1.7 million project to encourage Minnesota farmers to adopt regenerative farming practices. Other projects Target is currently supporting can be found in our reporting on sustainability and governance.
Waste reduction efforts in the supply chain
We believe that while it is critical for the materials that go into a product to be sustainable, what happens to the waste material created in a product’s manufacturing process is equally important. We recognize that Target has the responsibility to ensure the manufacturing waste is treated with environmentally responsible methods. We make every effort and collaborate with our owned brand suppliers to eliminate and minimize waste by reusing materials, source reduction and recycling.
Audits and verifications
Our Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability audit program monitors the locations that produce our owned and exclusive brands, as well as those that produce national brand products for which Target is the importer of record. Environmental management indicators are part of our Standards of Vendor Engagement and are inclusive of, but not limited to: possession of the appropriate permits, proper waste management methods, safe chemical usage and responsible wastewater stewardship practices. Read more about audits and continuous improvement.
1 Target utilizes credible independent third-party certifications to verify sustainable sourcing of forest products.
2 The ZDHC wastewater standards are in two parts: conventional requirements and ZDHC MRSL. The conventional parameters relate to metrics that tie to basic water quality, such as acidity and the amount of oxygen available in the water (key to support aquatic life). The conventional parameters include three levels: foundational, progressive and aspirational. As of 2022, at least 22% of our owned brand apparel textile facilities meet the foundational requirements and at least 7% meet the progressive standard.