October 14, 2013; TriplePundit
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Target is adding some social good elements to its mega-chain discount stores by teaming with mobile app GoodGuide (recently purchased by nonprofit Underwriters Laboratories) to include environmental sustainability ratings for their products. The Target Sustainable Product Standard has been developed over the past two years with the help of NGO partners, vendors and industry specialists. Target will collect information from vendors using the UL Transparency Platform and assess products against the standard, giving each product a rating from 0 to 100. Below is the chart Target has created to evaluate goods:
The first stage of the project was for the corporation to work with vendors on how to improve Target’s selection of products. And starting this month, Target will ask manufacturers, representing “7,500 products in household cleaners, personal care and beauty, and baby care” to complete evaluation of the initial rollout of its standard. By 2014, Target will also expand its standards for cosmetic products.
Target’s big competitor Walmart also released a similar rating standard in 2012, the Sustainability Index, which has reached 200 categories and over 1,000 suppliers in the past year. This new standard may be good news for Target shoppers looking to get discounted yet sustainable products, but we need to watch for the unanticipated consequences that having big business dive into sustainability may cause. NPQ also hopes Target is focusing some of its efforts on improving low employee wages, as well as work conditions for products made overseas.—Aine Creedon