Target shoots for 100% sustainable cotton by 2022

Clothing giant Target has set a new goal to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2022 for its owned and exclusive national brands across apparel, home and essential products.

Target is one of the largest cotton importers in the US and has vowed to implement full transparency and visibility of its cotton sources to promote sustainability. Although specific details on the action plan are yet to be revealed, Target announced that it will improve its value chain through collaboration with farmers, brands and retailers.

The company will work through BCI, Organic and Cotton Leads programmes to validate and certify its commitment to 100% sustainable cotton. Although Target does not share its specific breakdown, it currently uses cotton sourced through these initiatives already.

Target spokesperson Jenna Reck told edie: “Target will rely on programs that promote, measure and provide education around sustainable cotton production to fulfill our commitment. We will rely on a combination of programs that support our definition of sustainable cotton, primarily Better Cotton Initiative, Organic and Cotton LEADS, that best fit into the geographies, supply chains and practices Target supports.

“Target is a member of BCI and Cotton LEADS and will continue to work with them to drive continuous improvements in everything from farming to traceability and to help bring the best technologies to the right places to enable impact. We also hope to learn from their expertise as we scale our programmes to achieve 100% sustainability.”

The company noted that it will explore additional certification as it moves towards it 2022 goal, and that it will provide regular progress reports.

Target’s targets

The announcement builds on the range of commitments launched by Target last year. The company will seek to remove all “unwanted chemicals” from its own branded products and replace conventional polyester with recycled plastics.

“We announced a number of responsible sourcing aspirations last year that are guiding our work to ensure the products we deliver to Target guests are made ethically and responsibly,” Reck added. “We believe an investment in better products is an investment in our guests, team members and communities.”

The commitment arrives just days after a report from WWF, Pesticide Action Network an Solidaridad found that major brands are failing to make sufficient progress on sourcing sustainable cotton.

While proportionately more companies have sourcing commitments than in 2016, the report shows that only 11 have set targets to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2020 or earlier and overall uptake of sustainable cotton remains relatively low.

In an exclusive interview with edie, the chief sustainability officer of one of the world’s largest purchasers of sustainable cotton, C&A, revealed that he wanted to drive uptake of certification across the industry.

C&A became the first global retailer to launch Gold level Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified t-shirts, which have been designed to be reused, recycled into new products or safely composted.

Matt Mace

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