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Target Puts Responsible Sourcing Aspirations Into Action with New Forest Products Policy

Image Credit: Wolf Olins

Putting its responsible sourcing aspirations into action, Target has developed a new forest products policy. The policy will see the retailer source all of the wood, paper, paper-based packaging and wood-based fiber used in its brand-owned products from well managed, credibly certified forests and post-consumer recycled materials.

The forest products policy marks an important step forward in the elimination of sourcing practices that contribute to deforestation and forest degradation. Target intends to work with its vendors, suppliers and other key stakeholders to implement the policy by eliminating unacceptable sources and progressively increasing the amount of responsible wood, paper, paper-based packaging and wood-based fiber over time.

Coinciding with the policy launch, Target announced its first goals, which focus on its Spritz, up & up, Pillowfort, Cat & Jack, Threshold and Smith & Hawken brands. The company has pledged to be fully compliant with its forest products policy by the end of fiscal year:

  • 2018: Spritz
  • 2020: up & up, Pillowfort and Cat & Jack
  • 2022: Threshold and Smith & Hawken

“Target is proud of our commitment to sustainability and healthy communities,” said Kelly Caruso, President of Target Sourcing Services. “We believe this policy is an important step in our journey as a responsible corporate citizen.”

Under the new policy, Target will require wood, paper-based packaging and wood-based fiber vendors to comply with the requirements of the US Lacey Act, which bans trafficking in illegal wildlife, plants and plant products, including timber and paper. Vendors of forest products covered under the scope of this policy are required to ensure that their products do not contain:

  • Illegally harvested and traded timber;
  • Timber harvested in violation of traditional or civil rights;
  • Timber harvested from areas in which high conservation values are threatened by poor forest management activities;
  • Timber harvested from areas being converted from forests and other wooded ecosystems to plantations or non-forest use;
  • Timber from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.

Helping suppliers become certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is another priority outlined by the retailer, a move that it says will help suppliers achieve full chain of custody and increase the penetration of FSC-certified products available in Target stores and online.

The final piece to the puzzle is a focus on the use of post-consumer recycled and alternative (non-wood) fibers. The company plans to increase the use of recycled materials in products and packaging when available and when they meet product performance requirements and competitive market conditions.

Target admits that the road to compliance will take time, making prioritization key. The company said in a statement: “This commitment is being progressively implemented through a program to improve the sustainability of our supply chain. We will work with our vendors to trace the origin of our raw materials. In implementing this policy, not only will we determine the origin of the raw materials in our products, but attempt to improve the sustainability of forests where the timber in those products was grown. As we implement this policy, we will monitor and report on our progress.”


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