The big corporate sustainability news this week was Target’s announcement of its new product sustainability standard. Starting with the categories of: household cleaners, personal care & beauty, and baby care, Target is developing criteria for what constitutes a more sustainable product. As reported in Greenbiz this week, suppliers whose products meet that criteria will be afforded “incremental merchandising and marketing assets not otherwise available to other brands”.
It’s not clear at this point how much Target’s criteria will overlap with The Sustainability Consortium’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for these categories. Until now, the Walmart-supported TSC has been the predominant organization driving criteria to identify sustainable products by category.
This is a very significant announcement for consumer goods brands. Walmart is no longer the only multi-category retail chain incentivizing suppliers to provide more sustainable products to stock on their shelves.
A couple of years ago, World Wildlife Fund’s Jason Clay posed the hypothetical question: What if all of the products on our shelves were sustainable? What if we didn’t leave it to the consumer to navigate competing claims and information, and instead agreed to only produce and sell products that supported the health and longevity of the planet and its people? While this is still a rather utopian vision, it’s very encouraging to see some of our largest retailers taking steps down this path.