Target Corp. plans a 20 percent cut in the virgin plastic in packaging for its own brand products by 2025, an environmental shareholder group announced June 22.
Boston-based Green Century Capital Management said the retailer agreed to the plastics cuts after advocacy groups filed and then withdrew a shareholder resolution. Target made the announcement as part of a larger sustainability strategy it released June 22.
"We're pleased with the scope and level of ambition of Target's new plastic elimination goal and hope it is just the beginning of the company's journey toward reducing its absolute plastic packaging footprint," said Annalisa Tarizzo, shareholder advocate with Green Century. "Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our rivers and oceans for hundreds of years — especially when we don't really need it."
Green Century said Target's commitment includes products in food and beverage, household cleaning, personal care, and beauty.
Tarizzo said the commitment could include both recycled resin and reductions in virgin resin use.
"Target can use both recycled plastic and overall reductions to achieve it new goal, but they have not shared with us an exact breakdown of which methods they plan to use," she said. "We have a strong preference for seeing absolute reductions in plastic use and have discussed with the company our hope to see them set an absolute reduction goal sometime soon."
Target's announcement comes after a few other large brands and retailers announced cuts in virgin plastic use in response to similar shareholder resolutions filed by Green Century and the Berkeley, Calif.-based As You Sow.
Keurig Dr Pepper agreed in April to a 20 percent cut in its virgin plastic use by 2025 and others, including Walmart Inc., said they would make announcements later this year.
On June 24, shareholders at the annual meeting for grocery chain Kroger Co. will vote on a plastics resolution filed by the green investment groups.