Eco-lumn: Target Sets Their Aim On Sustainability

At Blush and at FIT, sustainability is a major cause we care about. Eco-lumn (a play on the words eco and column) serves to inform our readers on the ongoing changes and advances within the sustainability movement throughout the world.

The land of Target is a wonderful place. In theory, a store combining groceries, lifestyle goods, and clothing for all genders and ages, is pretty genius. In practicality and sustainability, there are clearly some major issues. 

Target wants to change this with a set of new progressive environmental and labor policies. It is important to remember that with a company as large at Target, no change can happen overnight. The steps that Target is taking are small, but mighty and necessary to combat our ongoing universal environmental crisis. 

By 2020, Target vows to identify and remove any unwanted or harmful chemicals from their own brand products, as well as encourage other brands to follow green chemistry standards. Water use will be monitored and air emissions are being reduced throughout supply chains. Plastic from excess home and accessory products are now being recycled into polyester for soft goods. Technology hasn’t yet allowed us to recycle polyester garments into new yarns, so starting with plastic that would be headed for a landfill anyway is a great step. 

Deforestation is another major universal crisis. Trees produce oxygen needed to breathe, yet large corporations want land cleared to grow their businesses. Unfortunately, palm oil demands are sky high and companies choose profit over preservation. Target has vowed to sustainably source palm oil from responsibly managed forest productions.

Farming cotton has faced trouble for the water use it exhausts, and Target is assuring ethically grown and harvested cotton crops. There is currently research happening behind the scenes in collaboration with company Evrnu to recycle post-consumer cotton. Along with these sustainability promises, the company has also improved standards on their worker’s conditions. New training and community engagement programs have been introduced. Women’s empowerment initiatives are also being offered, which is a fantastic stride. One of the most important actions taken by Target recently was teaming up with technology platforms to monitor for human trafficking patterns in their India locations.

According to Target, these changes are just the beginning, and Blush definitely approves. Every step in the right direction, no matter how small, is worth doing. Kelly Caruso, the president of Target Sourcing Services, says “This is more than just reducing Target’s footprint. It’s going beyond to restore and improve these areas for future generations. And the reality is, no single company or organization can create that kind of long-term systemic change alone—the only way to make it happen is by collaborating with suppliers, governments and NGOs across our industry.”