Is Target Ethical? (Clothes, Employees, Sustainability + More)

Target does an exceptional job of offering services that build customer loyalty and providing their employees a wide array of benefits to reward them for their hard work.

But, you may be wondering if Target is an ethical company. For example, are Target’s clothing and shoes ethically sourced and made from sustainable materials?

Here is everything you need to know about Target and whether or not their practices are ethical!

Is Target Ethical?

Based on Target’s current practices and future plans, the retail company is an ethical company. For example, Target’s reducing the use of toxic chemicals in their clothing, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their factories, and implementing ethical practices to help their employees, like financial security and anonymous incident reporting systems.

Keep reading to discover more specific details about Target’s sustainable and ethical practices and more!

Are Clothes From Target Ethically Sourced?

Target offers their customers a wide array of clothing that is not only of high quality but is also fashionable and in demand.

In recent years, Target has focused a lot of attention on reducing manufacturing waste when it comes to clothing because average clothing production uses a significant amount of water, energy, and harmful chemicals.

To help reduce waste in the clothing production process, Target teamed up with several big-name companies like Levi’s and Nike to form the Sustainable Apparel Coalition or SAC.

SAC is an industry group that assesses how sustainable a company’s products are and offers ways to help reduce their waste.

To do this, SAC focuses on reducing the toxic chemicals in clothing and reducing the amount of water used to produce clothes.

When companies reduce the harmful chemicals in clothing, it positively impacts garment workers, the ecosystems surrounding the favorites, and the environment.

Because of the extensive size of Target’s company, creating sustainable clothing has a massive impact on the clothing industry and the environment.

Are Target’s Employment Practices Ethical?

Does Target Treat Animals Ethically?

When it comes to ethical employment practices at Target, there are a lot of mixed reviews from current and former employees that work in the stores and factories.

For example, some Target store employees reported instances of bullying after being discouraged from forming a union.

At one Target location in 2013, the National Labor Relations Board was forced to get involved in allowing employees to unionize.

However, according to Target’s website, the company provides its employees with several benefits that are not offered at other retail stores.

In addition to extensive benefits, Target also pays their employees a higher starting wage than their competitors.

Some of the benefits and perks that Target offers their employees include:

  • 401(k) contribution
  • Tuition assistance
  • Health, dental, and vision insurance plans
  • 10% store discount
  • Vacation paid time off
  • Life insurance
  • Career advancement opportunities

Are Target’s Factories Environmentally Conscious?

Target claims they are working closely with the companies in their supply chain, industry partners, policymakers, and other stakeholders to create more environmentally conscious factories.

Target wants to transition into being a company with a zero-carbon economy to positively impact climate change by working with other companies.

To do this, Target created a climate policy and Science Base Target goals.

These goals Target set are in place to reduce greenhouse gases, and the company has committed to be a net-zero enterprise by 2040

According to Target’s website, they strive to reduce greenhouse gases to lessen climate impacts across their entire supply chain.

Does Target Treat Animals Ethically?

Because Target sells groceries and a wide array of clothing, part of Target’s code of ethics includes treating the animals used in their products.

According to Target’s website, they are engaged in practices that follow the laws and industry guidelines that promote the welfare of animals.

Target also states that they do not support the use of non-therapeutic antimicrobials or antibiotics to promote growth.

With that, Target expects the suppliers and producers they work with to phase out the use of antimicrobials entirely unless it is medically necessary.

Additionally, Target is committing only to use cage-free eggs by the year 2025. Target also has plans to source its pork products more ethically.

For example, the retail store is partnering with its pork vendors to eliminate the use of sow gestation crates by 2022.

Is Target Reducing Their Use Of Plastic?

Is Target Reducing Their Use Of Plastic?

Yes, Target has implemented several practices that help the company reduce its plastic waste to help positively impact the climate. For example, Target reuses its clothing hangers until they are broken beyond repair.

As of 2017, the number of hangers that Target saved could circle the globe nearly 5 times!

Additionally, Target is working with the world’s biggest packaging producers, retailers, recyclers, and brands to change how they produce and reuse plastic.

By partnering with recycling experts, Target was able to add more than 5,000 Target-branded products with How2Recycle Labels.

The How2Recycle Labels provide customers with clear instructions on how to recycle the packaging. A significant source of plastic that comes from retail stores is the plastic bags used during checkout.

Target has taken steps to help reduce plastic waste from plastic bags. For example, Target offers a $0.05 discount for each customer’s reusable bag at the checkout.

The reusable bag incentive led to over 70 million reusable bags being used by customers. Additionally, Target’s plastic bags are made from 40% recycled content.

Finally, Target encourages its customers to recycle their old plastic bags from other stores with its in-store recycling kiosks.

Does Target Have Sustainable Products?

According to the company’s website, Target strives to be the market leader for sustainable brands and experiences by 2030.

With that, Target offers products with clean and transparent origins, recycling programs for various items, reusable shopping bags, and reducing the environmental footprint in their supply chain.

Although not every product at Target is not sustainably produced, some products are!

Target offers products like cleaning items, office supplies, and certain pieces of clothing that are ethically produced and environmentally conscious.

In the future, Target wants to add even more sustainable products into its store.

What Ethical Practices Is Target Implementing In The Future?

Target has several plans to implement ethical practices into its products and supply chain.

For example, some of the sustainable and ethical practices Target has planned include:

  • 50% of footwear, apparel, home, and hardline suppliers to achieve zero manufacturing waste into landfills
  • At least 50% of the energy that is used in business operations come from renewables
  • Leverage soil health practices to improve at least 1 million acres of land
  • Equitable hiring and advancement systems
  • Financial security for workers
  • Effective and anonymous channels for incident reporting
  • Worker access to gender-responsive health information and services
  • Target brand products to be measured using industry-leading Impact Profit and Loss methodology

Based on some of Target’s plans for the company’s future, it is clear that Target is continuously working on becoming a more ethical and sustainable company.

Now that you know about Target’s ethical practices, you can also read our related posts on if Target recycles batteries, if Target recycles plastic bags, and Target’s competitive advantages.


Target publicly addresses the fact that they are trying to become a more sustainable and ethical company each year. Some of the sustainable practices Target currently has include working towards fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, Target treats their employees ethically by providing them with a wide array of perks and benefits that several of Target’s competitors do not match.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

1 thought on “Is Target Ethical? (Clothes, Employees, Sustainability + More)”

  1. Target is terrible to work for. The managers were all bullies for the most part. One yelled at me in a dark back room late at night when we were alone and made me fear for my life. I did not even do anything wrong I was just “too slow” for him. My sister who also worked there walked in on a manager shit talking her to another manager. We were constantly forced to do the jobs of the managers and to stay past our shifts to do things that were not a part of our job. She also was once told a manager she had a horrible headache and needed to take ibuprofen. She asked if she could run to the back and grab some really quick (she was a cashier) and the manager just looked at her and said “run.” Also, we barely get ANY of the benefits mentioned. They do not let most of us work more than part-time. We could not go over 39.5 hours. If you were not full time, you did not get any of the benefits. They would have fliers in the break room about benefits that 90% of us couldn’t use. No free college or good insurance for me even though I was basically working full time. I was so overworked that I was constantly in intense physical pain. I could barely walk the day after Black Friday and almost broke down crying because of the pain during my shift. They didn’t care. People are promoted based on who is the manager’s besties rather than who puts in the work. I had one manager accuse me of lying about breaking a rule of not going behind the guest service desk while working self checkout and I told her I was just putting the baskets from the self-checkouts back (which is part of my job). I told her she can go look at the cameras if she wanted to because I was telling the truth. I could go on and on. These people disgusted me with how they thought it was okay to treat others.

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