The retailer says it will use the Target Sustainable Product Standard to make merchandising and product-placement decisions. Beginning this month it will ask vendors representing 7,500 products in household cleaners, personal care and beauty, and baby care to complete the UL Transparency Platform assessment.
In 2014, Target says it will develop a standard for cosmetics and will begin assessing products in that category as well.
Dara O’Rourke, co-founder and chief sustainability officer of GoodGuide, says there is no industry standard by which vendors and retailers can judge product sustainability. The Target Sustainable Product Standard will help “push the industry toward consensus on what sustainable standards should be,” O’Rourke says.
UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories, acquired GoodGuide last year. GoodGuide’s online and mobile platform includes data on more than 175,000 products and 5,000 companies. The platform allows users to find and choose products according to personally customizable search criteria such as organic content, energy efficiency and animal welfare.
Last month Walmart said its Sustainability Index, a measurement system used to track the environmental impact of products, has been rolled out across 200 product categories, and to more than 1,000 suppliers. By the end of this year, the company says it will expand the Index to include more than 300 product categories and as many as 5,000 suppliers.
Since broadly rolling out the Index to product categories in August 2012, Walmart says the tool has improved product sustainability. For example, Walmart’s general merchandise department has improved its Index product sustainability score by an average of 20 percent, grocery department by an average of 12 percent, and consumables and health and wellness by an average of 6 percent.