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Responding department: Corporate Social Responsibility

Stock Exchange Symbol: (TGT:US)

Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?

Yes, respect for human rights is a fundamental principle throughout our business practices and standards. While not a standalone policy, our commitment to human rights is integrated throughout our workplace policies, many of which can be found in Target’s Business Conduct Guide here: [link]. In addition to our team members (employees), we expect our vendors and suppliers to share our ethical concerns and uphold our standards, and have adopted additional labor and human rights policies, which can be found here: [link]

Target’s Standards of Vendor Engagement (SOVE), reflect International Labor Organization principles, including maximum working hours, child labor, and forced labor, as well as the foundations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Our SOVE can be found here: [link],as well as within our Vendor Code of Conduct: [link].


How are human rights governed in your company?

As the leaders of the business, each member of Target’s Leadership Team has responsibility for living Target’s values of ethics and integrity, and holding team members, vendors and suppliers accountable to our policies. Lead responsibility resides with the EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, the Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, and ultimately the CEO. The Corporate Responsibility Committee of Target’s Board of Directors maintains oversight of public issues related to human rights.

How are human rights managed within your company?

Day-to-day management of human rights resides mostly with Target’s Employee & Labor Relations and Social Compliance & Sustainability teams. When it comes to sourcing and supply chain operations, we insist on a high degree of oversight of the factories that make our products and hold vendors to high standards, particularly in how they treat workers. Target maintains a team of social compliance auditors who oversee factories in many of our countries of production. We conduct regular, unannounced social compliance audits of vendor factories. Currently, we audit against the social responsibility standards in our SOVE, including standards regarding workplace safety, child labor, forced and compulsory labor, discrimination, fair wages and more. This work is supplemented by additional partnerships with third-party organizations like Better Work, a partnership between the International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation that aims to improve factory compliance with labor standards.To inform sourcing decisions, we provide a vendor scorecard, which includes key metrics around environmental sustainability and social compliance results. We report on factory audits in our annual Corporate Responsibility Report, which can be found here: [link]

What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?

Engaging with our stakeholders and listening to their ideas, concerns and perspectives is vital to understanding the issues facing the communities where Target does business. We have ongoing relationships with community leaders, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, and we regularly engage with partners like the State Department, Department of Labor, USAID, and U.S. Trade Representatives on our business priorities, government policies, and shared priorities. Additional organizations we actively participate with include the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, The Natural Resource Defence Council, Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, and GoodWeave.

Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?

The company selected the following from a check list:

  • Health (including environmental health, workplace health & safety)
  • Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
  • Forced labour and human trafficking (including in supply chains)
  • Conflict minerals
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Children (including child labour)
  • Migrant workers

Actions on conflict minerals

Also, in 2014, Target established a Conflict Minerals Policy outlining expectations for our team members as well as all vendors. Target will not knowingly purchase or sell any product if we have reason to believe that it contains any Conflict Mineral necessary to the production or functionality of the product. A comprehensive report can be found here: [link]

Actions on children (including child labour)

A recent example of Target looking to strengthen human rights is our partnership with GoodWeave. This organization aims to stop child labor in the carpet industry in countries like India. As the majority of owned-brand rug production for Target comes from India, we felt partnering with GoodWeave would provide additional oversight in the handloomed/hand-woven rug industry. By partnering with GoodWeave, Target is taking a leadership role in making positive changes to an entire industry and throughout a specific supply chain.

How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?

In addition to ongoing relationships and conversations with community leaders, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, we communicate our social compliance and human rights commitments through the following Target channels: - Corporate intranet - Business Conduct Guide: [link] - Corporate website: - Corporate Responsibility Report (Including full and partial reporting on several GRI indicators): [link]

What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?

Target has an integrity hotline where team members or any third party can anonymously report ethics concerns. This service is available 24 hours a day by phone, email, or by filing a hotline report through our web portal ([link]). We recently added an integrity statement to our vendor standards, which provides an email address enabling workers or managers in vendor factories to contact us if they see a violation of our standards. We protect the anonymity of anyone who contacts us, and we have committed to follow up on all legitimate tips. Every one of our unannounced audits includes worker interviews conducted without factory management present. Additionally, we are piloting a worker engagement process with an organization called “Labor Link” to better understand worker concerns in factories through robust worker surveys.

Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?

As mentioned above, we regularly engage with partners like the State Department, Department of Labor, USAID and U.S. Trade Representatives in countries of production, and actively participate with other organizations like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, The Natural Resource Defense Council, Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, and GoodWeave. One example of a collaborative human rights initiative that Target is part of is the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. The Alliance is a coalition of global apparel companies and their partners working with Bangladeshi stakeholders and others to dramatically improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh garment factories. We are a founding member of the Alliance and hold a seat on its board of directors.

Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.

The U.N Guiding Principles confirmed our approach to human rights. We are looking to go beyond traditional factory audits to more proactively address issues like underage labor, forced/bonded labor, and human trafficking. This includes more partnership with government agencies and NGO’s to work on a more holistic level.

What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?

One of our biggest challenges is supply chain transparency, which continues to be an industry wide concern. Despite engagement by our social compliance team, including unannounced audits, some of our production facilities choose to falsify records rather than be transparent with the obstacles they face regarding hiring practices, working hours and wages. We are focused on helping drive long-term solutions that will improve business practices and ultimately benefit the workers in those facilities.