Target acts on chemicals in supply chains

30 January 2017

US retail giant Target has unveiled strict new guidelines for manufacturers in its supply chain on avoiding the use of certain chemicals in products.

As well as removing what it considers to be the chemicals with the biggest potential health impact from its product range, Target also plans to improve labelling of products.

Target aims to ensure that beauty, baby care, personal care, and household cleaning products do not contain chemicals including phthalates, propyl-parabens, butyl-parabens, formaldehyde, or NPE’s by 2020.

“Our chemical strategy will be one of the most comprehensive in the US 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.”

Under the plan textile products will no longer contain perfluorinated chemicals by 2022. Flame retardants, which are potential carcinogens or pose other forms of harm, will also be removed.

Target said in instances where safer alternatives do not exist, it would promote new approaches to chemical developments and the commercialisation of safer alternatives.

It plans to invest $5m in green chemistry innovation by 2022.

“To get things started, we’re teaming up with our vendors, supply chain partners, NGOs and other organisations across the industry to identify unwanted substances in products and operations, understand how they impact health, and work to develop safer alternatives,” said Target.

Irene Quarshie, vice president of quality and compliance at Target Sourcing Services, said: “Part of knowing what’s in products is understanding where they come from and how they’re made.

“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.”

The company intends to report on plan progress in its annual corporate social responsibility report, starting in February 2017.

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