Target Corp. announced a new chemical strategy on Wednesday that addresses its entire value chain, operations and product array.
In the new policy, Target is committed to driving transparency, proactive chemical management and innovation across all of its owned and national brand consumer products and operations.
“Our chemical strategy will be one of the most comprehensive in the U.S. retail industry, including all Target-owned and national brand products and operations, not just formulated products,” said Jennifer Silberman, chief sustainability officer at Target. “It’s ambitious, but using our size, scale and expertise, we think we’ll be able to make significant progress. And we hope our robust approach will accelerate similar efforts across the industry. Ultimately, we want to bring all stakeholders together to innovate and champion a consistent, industry-wide approach to greener chemistry.”
The chemical strategy involves three distinct areas: transparency, chemical management and innovation. Target said its goal is to achieve transparency to all ingredients, including generics such as fragrance, beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning formulated products by 2020.
The retailer also aims to improve beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning product categories by formulating without phthalates, propylparaben, butylparaben, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-donors, or NPEs by 2020. It also wants to improve textile products by removing added Perfluorinated Chemicals, PFCs, from products by 2022 and remove added flame retardants that are potential carcinogens or pose harm to the guest, workers or communities by 2022.
Overall, Target said it will invest up to $5 million in green chemistry innovation by 2022.
To get off the ground, Target is teaming with vendors, supply chain partners, non-governmental organizations and other organizations across the industry to identify unwanted substances in products and operations, understand how they impact health and work to develop safer alternatives.
“Making informed choices should be simple for guests,” said Dawn Block, senior vice president of essentials and beauty at Target. “This framework is designed to take the complications out of finding better-for-you product options. We’re looking forward to working with our vendors on solutions that will benefit us all.”
The new chemical strategy is an integral part of Target’s sustainability commitments and overarching responsible sourcing aspirations. It will build on a number of its existing tools and efforts and sometimes require the development of new tools to help meet the needs, the company said.
Target plans to invest resources and expertise, especially where no viable substitutions currently exist.
“Part of knowing what’s in products is understanding where they come from and how they’re made,” said Irene Quarshie, vice president of quality and compliance, Target Sourcing Services. “So we’ll build on our work in the responsible sourcing space to help us verify that supply chain processes are sustainable, as well as ethical and responsible, from beginning to end.”
Target said it will monitor its progress, starting in February, and report on it each year in its Corporate Social Responsibility Report, and will update and set new goals as needed, expanding the categories it cover and chemicals addressed.
“We’re excited to kick off this long-term effort, understanding that this is a journey, and it takes everyone working together to truly make a difference,” Siberman added. “We look forward to working with our partners on further reducing the presence of unwanted substances in the homes and workplaces of millions of guests, and helping to enhance their health and well-being.