Target following green procurement retail trend with sustainable product standard

Target is implementing a sustainable product standard to reduce the environmental impact of its suppliers to keep up with sustainability initiatives launched by its competitors, according to Sustainable Business News.

This announcement comes after Walmart previously established its own Sustainability Index, which may indicate that sustainable sourcing is trending among major corporations. Large retailers like Target and Walmart are paying closer attention to environmentally friendly goods because there is an increase in demand for sustainable products. While increased sustainability has been a way to reduce manufacturing costs and other expenses in the past, this business approach has determined the competitiveness of large corporations.

"With the Target Sustainable Product Standard, Target will help push the industry toward consensus on what sustainable standards should be and create incentives for innovation in this highly competitive space, ultimately broadening the sustainable product selection for their guests," Dara O'Rourke, co-founder and chief sustainability officer of GoodGuide, said in a statement posted on Target's blog.

Products scored based on environmental sustainability

As part of the Target Sustainable Product Standard, Target will have its vendors of more than 7,500 products complete an assessment. Products sold by Target will be scored with a point system of up to 100 points. Factors in the point assignment for products will include sustainability of ingredients and their overall environmental effects.

While products in categories such as household cleaners, personal care, beauty and baby care have already begun this assessment, cosmetic products will also have points assigned starting in 2014. With more consumers shifting toward environmentally conscious retail goods, companies might have to step up their green procurement strategies in different aspects of their manufacturing. For example, packaging. Target already practices sustainable sourcing for its packaging through reducing resource waste.

"To improve our packaging, we recently set a goal to make more of our owned-brand packaging designs more sustainable by the end of 2016," Target said on its corporate responsibility page. "To achieve this, we plan to reduce the overall materials used, include more recycled or renewable content, and reduce as much product waste as possible."

In furthering its corporate responsibility goals, Target also said it was a participant in the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transportation Partnership to reduce the carbon emission impact of its transportation operations.

With corporations ramping up their efforts to ensure products have fewer harmful chemicals, manufacturers might also have to follow suit if they want to remain competitive.

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