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Target Introduces Five New Sustainable Packaging Goals

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

For Target, fostering a greener supply chain goes beyond the products themselves.

On Tuesday, the retailer launched five new sustainable packaging goals to help protect the planet and welfare of local communities. With more eco-friendly packaging, Target aims to tackle the industry’s pollution problem and support the shift to a more circular economy.

“We know our guests pay attention to the packaging and its impact on the environment,” Target’s chief sustainability officer Jennifer Silberman said. “When we provide them with thoughtfully designed, environmentally friendly packaging, we’re able to help them take another step toward sustainable living.”

In 2013, Target created its first packaging goal, which was to make at least 50 of its owned brand packages more sustainable by 2016. Target’s team exceeded this goal by offering 160 greener packaging designs that required more recycled content and less materials. The company’s new sustainable packaging goals reflect this accomplishment while supporting public initiatives to increase recycling and other eco-friendly practices.

1. Source packaging from sustainably managed forests by 2022

As part of its new forest products policy, Target, with the help of vendors and other partners, will trace the origin of raw materials used in its paper-based packaging and source exclusively from eco-friendly forests. The retailer is already working on this goal with six of its owned brands, including Cat & Jack, Pillowfort, Smith & Hawken, Spritz and Threshold.

2. Remove expanded polystyrene by 2022

Foam packaging, also known as polystyrene, is un-recyclable for most of Target’s consumers and distribution centers, and could cause health problems for manufacturing workers. It also causes considerable ocean pollution. As part of its chemical policy, Target will collaborate with its suppliers to develop more sustainable packaging options that are better for wildlife and the planet.

3. Add the How2Recycle label by 2020

As a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Target will continue to keep consumers in the know when it comes to recycling. How2Recycle label, GreenBlue’s industry standard that informs consumers about how to recycle different types of packaging, is already included on over 1,700 of Target’s product packages. To keep up this progress, Target will place the label on more of its owned brand packaging in the next three years.

4. Provide support to The Recycling Partnership

Target is the first retailer to be a member of The Recycling Partnership, a U.S. nonprofit that works with companies and communities to improve recycling systems. In collaboration with The Recycling Partnership, Target wants to improve the way more than a quarter of the U.S. population recycles by 2020. The company will bring curbside recycling to underprivileged communities, so more people can recycle and contribute to the production of renewable goods.

5. Create more demand for recycled packaging by 2020

Recycling is still a widely-misunderstood concept among consumers today. To change this dilemma, Target is advancing the idea that all packaging will be recyclable and renewable in the future. The company also joined two industry efforts, The Material Recovery Facility of the Future, a project that is supporting the concept of entirely-recyclable packaging and Beyond 34, a project that aims to raise the U.S. recycling rate above 34 percent.

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