Supplier Engagement

We recognize that supplier collaboration is essential to driving change and transformation in the industry and achieving long-term, sustainable operations.

Capability building

We empower our suppliers to strengthen the resilience of their supply chain and support their workers through capability building programs, including the Supplier Engagement Program, which aims to bring innovative labor management practices and a continuous improvement culture to our strategic vendors and factories.  

The program leverages tools from the Better Work Academy and advises suppliers on establishing and executing grievance mechanisms and monitoring performance. It also provides train-the-trainer support in key focus areas: management systems, building worker-management social performance teams, supervisory skills, workplace communication, negotiation skills and effective grievance mechanisms.

Self-assessment program 

In 2021, Target piloted and subsequently launched a new self-assessment program with all of our Non-Food & Beverage Owned Brand business partners. It is designed to help our partners evaluate their management systems along eight dimensions: resources, policies & strategies, communication, training, pre-screening & risk assessment, supply chain oversight, continuous improvement and beyond compliance goals. 

This evidence-based assessment provides business partners with clear line of sight to where capabilities are most and least mature, empowers them to take ownership of their own improvement, and serves as an evaluation tool to create better understanding of capabilities for managing social and environmental performance.  

The results of the assessment are paired with eLearning and coaching from Target Responsible Sourcing & Sustainability professionals to support business partners in creating organizational development plans that will strengthen and mature management systems, enabling improved compliance to our expectations and preparing business partners to support our beyond-compliance ambitions.   

Training and education

We train our vendors on a variety of Target policies and commitments, including our health and safety requirements, environmental standards and our expectations around hiring practices to help prevent the possibility of forced labor.

When we update our policies and commitments, we notify our vendors and provide refreshed training when appropriate. To promote understanding and prompt compliance with our evolving policies and commitments, we often provide our vendors with training materials that are available in multiple languages. For our strategic vendors, we provide additional capability building resources to elevate their self-diagnosis and problem-solving abilities. We aim to enable our vendors to better manage and improve their supply chains.

In addition to training resources, we give vendors access to tools on our vendor website to help them elevate their responsible sourcing performance, including our full self-audit forms and a detailed guide with best practices for implementing our Standards of Vendor Engagement in their supply chains. 

Vendor performance analysis 

Target uses multiple data points to analyze the performance of our vendors and they are held accountable for responsible sourcing performance of the factories that they use for Target owned brand, Target distributed, Target Exclusive and Target imported production. Our vendors' responsible sourcing performance is regularly shared with internal sourcing and merchandising teams, thereby providing team members with the information they need to make informed sourcing and purchasing decisions. Our continuous evaluation of compliance trends also helps identify areas of opportunity for our vendors, which we discuss with them as part of our vendor engagement process. 

Vendor probation and termination process 

Vendors who do not meet our standards will be put on probation. During that time, they will work closely with our responsible sourcing team until they have elevated their internal program. During probation, we will monitor them closely and require that all audit results demonstrate facility compliance. If they are not able to consistently meet these requirements, we will remove them from our vendor matrix. We also will terminate a relationship our relationship with a vendor or factory if they attempt to alter audit results in any way, or if they mistreat our team members or representatives.