Move comes after engagement with As You Sow and Green Century
- ‘Target Forward’ builds on the retailer’s legacy of corporate responsibility and sustainable practices, leveraging its size and scale to benefit people, the planet, and its business
- New strategy reflects ambitious goals, designed to help the retailer co-create an equitable and regenerative future with its guests, partners, and communities
- Goals center Target’s sustainability efforts on three critical ambitions: design and elevate sustainable brands; innovate to eliminate waste, and accelerate equity and opportunity
- The retailer aims to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences by 2030; commits to being a net-zero enterprise by 2040; and sets additional goals across its team, brand and product assortment, global supply chain, social justice, and more
Berkeley/Boston, June 22, 2021 – Target Corporation, a Fortune 50 general merchandise retailer, announced a new goal Tuesday to reduce its use of virgin plastic 20% by 2025 across its own brand frequency products as part of a new sustainability strategy, Target Forward. Food and beverage, household cleaning, personal care, and beauty are categories included in this shift.
The announcement comes after Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow withdrew a shareholder proposal that urged the company to reduce its plastic footprint.
“We’re pleased with the scope and level of ambition of Target’s new plastic elimination goal and hope it is just the beginning of the company’s journey toward reducing its absolute plastic packaging footprint,” said Annalisa Tarizzo, shareholder advocate with Green Century. “Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our rivers and oceans for hundreds of years—especially when we don’t really need it.”
Target states that its Target Forward campaign is anchored to the company’s purpose to help all families discover the joy of everyday life. Through Target Forward, the retailer is focused on restoring and regrowing natural systems, and ensuring its team, communities, and partners around the globe can thrive.
“As a company and a member of the global community, it’s imperative for both the health of our business and of our planet that we embrace new ways to move forward,” said Brian Cornell, chairman, and chief executive officer of Target. “We know sustainability is tied to business resiliency and growth, and that our size and scale can drive change that is good for all. Target Forward influences every corner of our business, deepens our collaboration with our partners, and builds on our past efforts to ensure a better future for generations to come.”
Target’s Sustainability Commitments
The commitments Target is making with Target Forward work toward three critical ambitions: to design and elevate sustainable brands, innovate to eliminate waste, and accelerate opportunity and equity. Signature goals include:
- By 2030, Target aims to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences.
- By 2040, Target plans for 100% of its owned brand products to be designed for a circular future. Target’s teams will continue designing to eliminate waste, using materials that are regenerative, recycled, or sourced sustainably, to create products that are more durable, easily repaired or recyclable.
- By 2040, Target commits to being a net zero enterprise — zero waste to landfill in its U.S. operations and net zero emissions across both its operations and supply chain, inclusive of scopes 1, 2 and 3.
- By 2030, Target aims to build a team that equitably reflects the communities it serves, beginning with its commitment to increase Black team member representation across the company by 20% by 2023.
- Target and the Target Foundation will become even more deeply ingrained within communities, lifting up the voices and unique perspectives of community members to maximize the positive impact they can create together.
“We want our guests to turn to Target first when they think about sustainability,” said Amanda Nusz, senior vice president of corporate responsibility, Target, and president of the Target Foundation. “We know that the only way to make that possible is by putting both people and the planet at the center of our efforts, as we co-create with our guests, our partners and the communities we serve.”
Target’s announcement is one of many made by major corporations over the past six months around virgin plastic reduction. Green Century has secured commitments with Coca-Cola* and Mattel,* and As You Sow has secured similar commitments with Keurig Dr. Pepper,* Mondelez,* PepsiCo* and Walmart.
“This wave of corporate virgin plastic reduction commitments is good progress, but there is more work to be done,” said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow. “Significant cuts in absolute plastic use will be necessary to effectively stem the tide of plastic pollution entering our oceans and waterways.”
With 40% of plastic production going toward packaging, reduction commitments from major retailers and consumer goods companies are a vital step in stemming the flow of plastic pollution entering the ocean. According to the definitive Pew Charitable Trusts report, Breaking the Plastic Wave, existing solutions can reduce plastic pollution flowing into oceans by 80% by 2040. The report calls on the consumer goods sector to reduce plastic demand by one-third through elimination, reuse, and new delivery models. In order to reach that goal, thousands of companies will need to make large cuts in plastic use.