Environmental Impact of Products
Earth’s natural resources provide us with essential raw materials for our products. To help our suppliers source responsibly while minimizing harm to the planet and supporting communities, we have developed policies and programs for key materials.
Our commitment to a regenerative future
We seek to protect our shared environment and the people who cultivate our supplies, primarily through responsibly sourcing materials for our owned brand products.
The key raw materials in the products we source can have significant impacts on people across our supply chain and in communities nearby, including Indigenous populations, and on biodiversity, both from direct agricultural practices and shifts in land use.
Our sourcing teams, suppliers and designers are empowered to drive progress on our commitments and their work is aligned with our values. Our guests’ needs play a part in helping us choose which products we focus our sustainability and sourcing efforts on and whether we leverage our impact through our owned brands or national brands.
We have published policies and commitments for cotton, forest products, palm oil and sustainable seafood. Reporting on our progress toward these commitments keeps us accountable and transparent. We are also a proud member of multiple external partnerships that focus on driving innovation and transparency around how key resources are grown, sourced and produced.
Policies and commitments
We use cotton in many of our products, and we know that cotton farming plays a major role in the economic well-being of communities around the world. That’s why we’re committed to sourcing cotton more sustainably for our owned brand and exclusive national brand products, and introduced a cotton commitment in 2017 to help guide the way. While we are making significant progress on our goal, we are facing data measurement limitations and will continue to provide progress updates in the future. We hope to use our size, scale and influence to help the cotton industry tackle some major environmental and social challenges, while growing our investment in transparent and traceable sources.
We support responsibly managed forests, and introduced our forest products policy in 2017. This policy helps guide 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 are sourced from well-managed forests that have been credibly certified and/or are from post-consumer recycled materials.1 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.
In our forestry supply chains, we use chain-of custody certifications wherever possible to confirm that we source from well-managed forests. We prioritize FSC standards and currently have 1,500 FSC-certified owned brand items.1
Our priority owned brands (Spritz, up & up, Cat & Jack, Pillowfort, Threshold and Smith & Hawken) have all made significant progress on implementing our forest products policy. This work is an effort across our design, sourcing, buying, marketing and packaging teams. Additionally, many of our vendor partners were willing to commit to higher standards for all the forest products they source for Target, which meant that all owned brands benefited from the work done in these priority brands.
The availability and cost of third-party certified materials, however, especially with solid wood products, presented challenges that prevented us from meeting our 2022 deadline for our goal to roll out implementation of our Forest Products Policy to Threshold and Smith & Hawken brands by the end of 2022. The lessons we have learned as a result are informing our strategies going forward. As we move towards 2030, we are re-evaluating our approach to meeting our goals.
In addition, we support the forest preservation efforts being taken by a collaboration of clothing designers, retailers and brands, who are working with the environmental nonprofit Canopy as part of the CanopyStyle initiative.
Because of the environmental and social risks in certain palm oil supply chains, Target engages with suppliers and participates in initiatives to increase the sustainability of its palm oil supply chain. Target will continue to collaborate with supply chain partners and industry stakeholders to leverage our collective scale, influence and expertise to promote sustainable palm oil.
At Target, you can be confident that the seafood you buy was wild caught or farmed using sustainable practices. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with our partner FishWise, trusted vendors and other stakeholders to ensure 100% of our fresh and frozen seafood is sustainable, traceable or in a time-bound improvement process. Our expanded policy also addresses our sourcing of sushi, shelf-stable tuna and owned brand pet food. We will continue to leverage our size, scale and reach in ways that we believe will lead to positive social, economic and environmental outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture production.
Forests are critical to mitigating climate change, and 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. More specifically, we will focus on eliminating deforestation of primary forests and areas of High Conservation Value2, as well as High Carbon Stock3 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, with palm oil and wood-based materials.
We are committed to sustainably sourcing wood, paper and wood-based fibers in our priority owned brands; palm oil 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.
The majority of soy used in our supply chain is in the feed in our animal protein products. Because of the primarily 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. We analyzed the soy sourcing practices of our suppliers for our packaged goods with the highest volumes of soy and found that this sourcing is also largely domestic and does not pose a material deforestation risk.
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 U.S. and Australia (grass-fed) we have a limited deforestation impact. We are also active members of the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef to ensure we are sourcing beef responsibly where it is most material to our business. We continue to collect and analyze data on our owned brand leather usage to determine potential impacts to deforestation.
Southeast Asia supplies 90% 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. We are following and encouraged by efforts and progress made by standards bodies and multi-stakeholder organizations like the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR). These efforts will provide Target with avenues to ensure that rubber used in our products does not contribute to deforestation.
As we learn more about our supply chains and the opportunities available to meet our commitments, 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 the outcomes of our work via our reporting on sustainability and governance.
1 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.
2 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 six defined types of HCV areas; visit the HCV Resource Network for more information.
3 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.