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Supporting Target’s Chemical Policy Implementation for Formulated Products

November 30, 2020 | Case Study,

This announcement is a huge win for consumer transparency and we’re thrilled that Target is taking this step. It’s a forward-thinking policy like this that will drive industry change, ensuring that the health of our planet and its people are never compromised for profit.

John Replogle
CEO, Seventh Generation


In 2016, Target set out to develop a progressive chemicals policy that would differentiate the company as a leader amongst its peers and with its customers. In 2017 Target launched its first chemicals policy, setting aspirational objectives for transparency, chemical management, and innovation. Since the announcement of the chemical policy, Target has been working to continuously implement the objectives set forth in its chemical policy.


Anthesis’ role was to support Target in the implementation of its chemical policy goals for formulated products as follows:

  • Achieve transparency to all ingredients, including generics such as ‘fragrance’, beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning formulated products by 2020.
  • Improve beauty, baby care, personal care, and household cleaning product categories by formulating without phthalates, propyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, formaldehyde-donors, or NPE’s by 2020.
  • Pursue the development of safer alternatives to achieve goals.


  • Advised on overcoming challenges related to ingredient transparency.
  • Evolved the IT platforms to better support data collection, analysis, and decision making.
  • Created vendor guidance on Target’s chemical policy expectations and requirements.
  • Engaged with key stakeholders on the implementation of Target’s chemical policy.
  • Created internal and external documents.
  • Collected, analyzed, and reported on chemical data made available through WERCSmart aggregate data reports.
  • Conducted benchmarking exercises.
  • Supported short-term and long-term implementation strategy.
  • Supported Target’s overlapping programs, such as Target Clean.


  • The UL systems (WERCSmart & PurView) which Target uses to support its chemical policy initiatives have been adapted to better collect and analyze the product assortment data. The improvement in these systems will support the long-term adoption by other retailers, brands, and manufacturers so that industry as a whole can move towards improved ingredient transparency and better chemical management.
  • Overall B2B and/or B2C ingredient disclosure is improving.
  • Solutions are improving to address fragrance and other third-party ingredient disclosure.
  • Collaboration in the supply chain to address shared issues is accelerating.



The execution of Target’s chemical policy has moved the company towards its ‘best in class’ objectives and has positioned it as a leader in the retail sector. The learnings from this experience, particularly the imperative of collective action amongst all stakeholders can be applied to other supply-chains, to achieve continuous improvement across the sector.

To learn about restricted substance lists, read our three part series: 

  1. Developing a Restricted Substances List for Beauty and Personal Care Products
  2. Why List-based Chemical Screening is Not Enough
  3. Six Chemical Management Strategies to Move Beyond Restricted Substances Lists (M/RSLs)

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