• Target Corporation is the nation’s second largest discount chain and operates nearly 1,500 stores in 47 states.
• As a big box retail store, Target contributes to environmental and community degradation and sprawl.
• While Target is a partner in the EPA Waste Wise program to reduce municipal solid waste, the company has yet to show significant signs of reducing its overall environmental impact.
• Target is the subject of repeated allegations of sweatshop sourcing worldwide.
• Target was fined by the EPA for failing to disclose the percentage of pesticides in its products.
• The NAACP gave Target an "F" for its lack of commitment to African Americans and other people of color.
• Find green companies to support and other creative alternatives to shopping at Target through Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 03/28/2011
Target Corporation (formerly Dayton Hudson) is the nation’s second largest discount chain and operates nearly 1,500 Target and SuperTarget stores in 47 states, covering everything from discount superstores to high-scale department stores. The company employs 352,000 employees and recorded sales of $59.49 billion in fiscal 2007.
Tell Abercrombie and Target to Take Responsibility for Workers Burned Alive
In December 2010, 28 workers making clothes for Abercrombie & Fitch and Target were killed in a massive fire at a sweatshop in Bangladesh. Some were burned to death, some suffocated to death, some jumped to their death, and hundreds more were seriously injured.
Seven corporations sourced from the factory where the fire took place. Five of the seven companies have responded by taking steps to do the right thing, and labor rights groups are working overtime to hold them to their promises. But Target and Abercrombie & Fitch see things quite differently. To date, their only response has to been to claim they are "reviewing options for financial contributions" and suggest a "training program" for workers "to reduce the risk of recurrence."
Outdoor Furniture Campaign
Rainforest Relief is campaigning to end Target’s use of endangered tropical wood in their seasonal outdoor furniture and children’s furniture. Kapur and Nyatoh wood originate from the dwindling old growth rainforests of Southeast Asia, and Kapur is on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Rainforest Relief is asking consumers to take action by calling Target CEO Robert J. Ulrich and implore him to follow Kmart’s lead in ending the purchase and sale of products that destroy critical biological diversity.
Be Safe PVC
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and a growing network of organizations are launching PVC consumer campaigns to encourage major corporations to phase out their use of PVC and to support policies that phase out PVC…
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and a growing network of organizations are launching PVC consumer campaigns to encourage major corporations to phase out their use of PVC and to support policies that phase out PVC. They have already convinced Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath and Body Works to phase out their use of PVC in their packaging! They want to leverage these victories to build momentum for further commitments to safer products in the years to come.
Associated Merchandising Corp. (AMC) (Subsidiary) - New York, NY
- Dayton's Commercial Interiors - Green Bay, WI
- Dayton's Commercial Interiors - Madison, WI
Dayton's Commercial Interiors - Madison, WI
- Dayton's Commercial Interiors, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Minneapolis, MN
- Mervyn's (Division) - Hayward, CA
Minneapolis, MN 55403 USA
The National Labor Committee’s May 2006 report entitled “US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement: Descends into Human Trafficking & Involuntary Servitude,” documents violations of workers’ rights in numerous Jordanian factories. Factories included the Topaz Factory, Al Safa, Al Nahat, Ivory, and Atateks Garment factory, all of which sew Mossimo garments for Target. The lack of respect for workers’ basic human rights included the following:
- Human trafficking and involuntary servitude of guest workers
- Confiscation of workers’ passports
- Routine work shifts of 14.5 to 16.5 hours
- No sick days, paid vacations, or government holidays allowed
- Wages below the legal minimum; in Al Safa, wages were 27 percent below the legal minimum
- Sporadic pay
- Summertime factory temperatures rising above 100 degree in Al Safa Workers subject to violence and threats if production goals not met
A worker at the Ivory Factory said: “We feel like we are dead… worn out, broken and exhausted. Just work, work, work, but no wage, no dollars. Just work, eat poorly and then sleep a few hours. People are getting sick and their health is deteriorating.” Those who spoke out about such conditions were forcibly deported. An Ivory Garment factory worker stated: “No one can speak. Many have been sent back already.”
February 2005, a young Bangladeshi woman working in Al Safa garment factory hung herself after allegedly being raped by the factory manager. There has been no official investigation into her rape and death. Al Safa factory supplies clothing for Target’s Mossimo.
The NLC’s July 2006 update reported that Al Nahat factory had been shut down. Of its 400 workers, 152 had been relocated to a factory with respectable working conditions.
A September 2006 update on Jordanian factories reported little progress in those that supply garments for Target. The report featured labor violations in Atateks Garment Factory, where labor practices remain unchanged. In August 2006, 10 workers were fired, imprisoned, beatened, and forcibly deported. Workers appealed the labor violations to the Jordanian Ministry of Labor, Jordanian police, Bangladesh Embassy, and so forth to no avail.
-- National Labor Committee, 09/27/2006
Source URL: www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=10
Target and JCPenney continued to source from the Nobland garment factory in Guatemala despite management's aggressive opposition to union activity and the companies were slow to respond to intervention requests by U.S. LEAP. Union organizers were subject to harassment and termination, and the factory was abruptly shut down in June 2005.
-- U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, 10/01/2005
According to an Oxfam report titled, "Trading Away Our Rights: Working Women in Global Supply Chains," Target, Sears and Tommy Hilfiger brands source from a factory in Guandong, China where management routinely hides evidence of poor labor conditions in order to pass screens. Regular violations include the following:
- Workers take on between 80 and 180 hours of uncompensated overtime each month when the legal limit is 36 hours.
- 40% of workers are not receiving minimum wage according to the number of hours they work.
- Two or three times per month workers are required to work through the night but are not paid overtime hourly wages. They are instead compensated according to piece-rate pay.
- Between two and three women each week suffer head injuries after fainting from exhaustion.
- Management maintains the appearance of compliance through false records of hours and wages, prepared answers for employees to give inspectors and threats against workers should they expose the truth.
-- Oxfam, 02/08/2004
- In April 2003, a federal court on the Pacific island of Saipan a…
Target has been Criticized for using Sweatshop Labor:
- In April 2003, a federal court on the Pacific island of Saipan approved a $20 million settlement on a class action lawsuit filed against Target and 21 other companies. The lawsuit charged that the companies contracted sweatshop labor on Saipan, a U.S. Commonwealth and should be held accountable for worker treatment and conditions in foreign-owned factories operating on U.S. soil. According to the complaint, the more than 13,000 garment workers in Saipan regularly worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, often times "off the clock" without receiving any pay or overtime. The lawsuit also accused Levi Strauss and other companies of operating a "racketeering conspiracy" through which workers, who are mostly young women, sign contracts waiving their basic human rights and pay recruitment fees of up to $10,000 to secure sweatshop jobs. By agreeing to the settlement, the companies admitted no wrongdoing.
- Lee Kil-Soo, owner of the Daewoosa factory in American Samoa, was convicted in February 2003 of human trafficking for illegally confining workers in "involuntary servitude," holding their passports, and threatening deportation in retaliation for any acts of non-compliance. A US Department of Labor (DOL) investigation reported that workers at Daewoosa were often beaten, deprived of food, and forced to work without pay. Clothing produced by the Daewoosa factory was sold with the "Made in the USA" label, because American Samoa is a US territory. Before Mr. Lee's arrest and the closing of the factory, Daewoosa supplied clothing to J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart. According to the Manchester Guardian Weekly, only J.C. Penney has paid back wages to the Daewoosa workers.
- As of March 2001 Target was selling clothing produced at the Leader Garment factory in El Salvador. The Leader facility has been cited by the National Labor Committee as a facility that enforces mandatory pregnancy tests--women who test positive are immediately fired. Workers must fulfill obligatory overtime of 6 days a week with 13-hour shifts, and workers are paid 60 cents an hour - less than one-third of the cost of living.
-- National Labor Committee, 04/01/2003
Source URL: www.nlcnet.org
Health and Safety
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetic released a report in March 2009 that revealed 23 out of the 28 children’s bath products they tested contained formaldehyde, a chemical that increases skin sensitivity and irritates nasal and respiratory passages in addition to being considered a probable carcinogen by the EPA. 32 of 48 tested products contained 1,4-dioxane, which is also considered a probable human carcinogen by the EPA and a byproduct of the chemical processes used to make petroleum-based ingredients gentler to the skin. Nearly two-thirds of all tested products contained both of these harmful toxins. Brands tested in this study include Bath & Body Works (Limited Brands), Johnson & Johnson, CVS/Pharmacy, Unilever, L’Oreal, Wal-Mart, Kimberly-Clark, Target, Costco and Procter & Gamble. Organic Consumers Association has also recently released a report on brands that have sharply reduced levels of 1,4-dioxane since March 2008 that include 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods), Earth Friendly Products, Ecco Bella, Giovanni, Jason, Johnson & Johnson, Kiss My Face, Life Tree, Method, Nature’s Gate, Planet Ultra, and Seventh Generation.
-- USA Today, 03/12/2009
In September 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency fined Target nearly $41,000 for selling products which failed to disclose on their labels that they contain pesticides. The products include toilet seats, mattress pads and pillows. Target has said it is removing the pesticides from the products.
-- CNN Money, 09/27/2007
From vinyl shower curtains to children’s toys, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic products pervade our homes and lives. These products are dangerous to our health and environment from start to finish - in the factory, at home, and in the trash, releasing toxic chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. The good news is safe and cost-effective alternatives exist and retailers such as Ikea have completely phased out PVC.
The following products made by Target and Target Home Brand contain PVC plastic in the actual products and/or packaging:
- Sport look styling gel - extreme hold
- Salon series 3/4" curling iron
- Salon series straightening iron
- Salon series 1" curling iron
- Vinyl shower curtain - palm floral
- Vinyl shower curtain - rice paper
- Vinyl shower curtain - crazy squares
- Vinyl shower curtain - ombre asian floral
- Vinyl shower curtain - glitter stripe
- Vinyl shower curtain - photoreal fish
- Vinyl shower curtain - tropical landscape
- Vinyl shower curtain - heavyweight vinyl shower curtain liner
- Vinyl shower curtain - heat seal fish
-- Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), 07/18/2006
Source URL: www.besafenet.com/pvc/pvccompanies.htm
Ethics and Governance
In February 2002, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Target alleging that the company discriminated against African Americans by not hiring them for entry-level management jobs in some Wisconsin stores. The lawsuit claims that Target employees routinely destroyed the applications of African-Americans. Target was ordered in 2007 to pay $510,000 to four African American employees who were denied promotions.
-- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 12/10/2007
Source URL: http://www.eeoc.gov/press/12-10-07a.html
In 2006, Robert J. Ulrich, Chairman and CEO of Target, made $33.43 million according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This translates into $140,000 in daily earnings. He has another $1139.96 million in unexercised stock options from previous years.
-- AFL-CIO, 12/22/2006
Target received a "F" grade on the 2006 NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative report. The grade reflects a measurement of corporate America's commitment to the African American citizenry and other people of color. Companies were surveyed for their activity in employment, vendor development and contracting, advertising and marketing, dealerships and philanthropy. At the NAACP’s 97th annual convention, President Bruce Gordan called on all blacks to boycott all Target stores. The NAACP is focusing on Target because it is one of the nation’s most prominent retailers.
-- NAACP, 07/18/2006
Source URL: www.naacp.org
California Consumers United organized California senior citizens in a boycott of Target for donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The group claims that Target’s motivation for the contributions was to maintain high drug prices, cutting prescription drug benefits for seniors as well as blocking the import of cheaper pharmaceuticals from Canada. As part of its expansion plan, Target Corporation has plans to increase the its number of pharmacies.
-- ABC7 News, 08/24/2005
In May 2003, shareholders of Target criticized the company for giving them no opportunity to ask questions at the company's annual meeting. The investors complained that they were not able to ask questions about what Target paid Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Ulrich, whose bonus last year climbed 24 percent to $4.6 million. Meanwhile, the company's share price fell nearly 27 percent, to around $30.
-- DSN Retailing Today, 06/09/2003
In January 2003, Target paid $95,000 to settle a case bought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a worker who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The case included claims that Target wrongfully refused to transfer the worker to a different job and unlawfully disclosed disability-related information to a prospective employer. In accordance with the settlement Target also agreed to provide Americans with Disabilities Act-related training to its management level personnel. In addition, it agreed to abide by federal recordkeeping requirements and maintain a policy barring workplace harassment. Target disputed the charge that its actions violated the ADA.
-- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 01/15/2003
Source URL: www.eeoc.gov/press/1-15-03-b.html