Emboldened by consumers demanding safer, sustainable products, Target Corp. has created environmental benchmarks for thousands of popular items — from baby lotion to dish detergent.
The Minneapolis-based retail giant says it’s part of a broader plan to help consumers make smarter buying decisions.
Last month, Target began collecting information from vendors supplying about 7,500 products in the household cleaning, personal care, beauty and baby-care categories. Each product will be ranked on a 100-point scale based on the sustainability of its ingredients, label transparency and overall environmental impact. The higher the score, the better.
The rankings, which took more than two years to develop, will help Target decide what products to stock and where to place them. Eventually, consumers may have access to the rankings.
This is also a business decision for Target and could help its bottom line. Efforts like this are gaining traction largely because “conscious consumption” is going mainstream, according to Rob Rankin, vice president and director of brand development for Clarity Coverdale Fury, a Minneapolis-based marketing agency.
Target has partnered with the consumer website GoodGuide to gather and evaluate the information provided by vendors such as Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
Target isn’t the only retailer in the sustainability game. Last year, Walmart rolled out its own index, which tracks the environmental impact of certain products.
HOW IT WORKS
• Total score: Each product gets a score from zero to 100, with 100 the top score. Ratings factor in ingredients, transparency and environmental impact. If no information is made available, the product will get a zero.
• Ingredients: Product contains no ingredients with high-level health concerns, such as those that cause cancer. High score: 50 points.
• Transparency: Ingredient list is disclosed in a way that permits each chemical’s health and environmental impact to be assessed. High score: 20 points.
• Animal testing: Product was not tested on animals in development or in production. High score: 5 points.
• Packaging: Product’s packaging sends minimal, even zero, waste to landfills. Label encourages recycling. High score: 20 points.
• Water quality: Product contains no ingredients that are hazardous to the aquatic environment. High score: 5 points.