The company’s responsible sourcing aspirations for 2020 focus on three areas: worker well-being, net-positive manufacturing and sustainable raw materials.
Target says it will remove all “unwanted chemicals” from Target-owned brand products and manufacturing and drive sustainable water stewardship and emissions reductions in its supply chain. It also pledges to support responsibly managed forests, palm oil production and cotton, and replace all conventional polyester with polyester made from recycled plastic in Target owned-brand apparel, accessories and home products.
“These efforts will also help us build resilient supply chains to support our business now and in the future,” Caruso writes.
When asked for additional details about these pledges, Target spokesperson Erika Winkels said “while I can’t share specifics at this point, you’ll hear more in the coming months.”
In an email, Winkels did say that Target defines “unwanted chemicals” as “chemicals of concern” or any chemicals that “represent a potential hazard to human health and the environment based on manufacture, use and disposal. Specific to global compliance definitions for this term, a chemical of concern chemical is defined as a chemical that meets the criteria for classification as a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant, or is persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic; or any chemical for which there is ‘scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.’”
Target has been a retail industry leader in working to phase out toxic chemicals in its products and being transparent about what chemicals it uses in its products.
In late 2013, Target teamed up with Underwriters Laboratories’ product-rating website GoodGuide to rate the environmental impact and sustainability of thousands of products. Beginning in October 2013, Target asked vendors representing 7,500 products in household cleaners, personal care and beauty, and baby care to complete the UL Transparency Platform assessment.
And in late 2014, Target along with other major companies and NGOs launched the Chemical Footprint Project, a metric for publicly benchmarking corporate chemicals management and profiling leadership companies.
In the blog post, Caruso says transparency will play a key role in ensuring Target achieves its sustainable supply chain targets and cites the company’s tier 2 factory matrix published earlier this fall, which lists of all factories and textile and wet processing facilities producing Target owned-brand products as of Sept. 1.
The blog also cites Target’s work Evrnu, a fiber technology company that recycles post-consumer cotton garment waste into new fibers, such as Levi’s 511 jeans.
“These commitments are just the beginning,” the blog says. “Going forward, we’ll share more of our plans and stories behind this work, increasingly focusing on sustainable product design, our commitment to transparency, and launching and reporting on specific, ambitious goals.”
And we’ll be anxiously waiting to hear the details.