Is Target Green for Profit or Green for the Environment?

The first company that comes to mind when I think socially and/or ethically responsible is Target. They pride themselves with having a corporate responsibility as they have a whole separate page on their website to explore the different areas they are trying to benefit. They state, “We’re putting the needs of people, communities and the planet at the heart of how we work today, to help build a better tomorrow.” (Target, 2020). Target conducts business in a socially responsible way in many different avenues. They participate in public policy and legislation by working with elected officials to speak up for social matters. Another reason they conduct social responsible business is by investing into the communities where their stores are. They will conduct community events to reach out and provide good paying jobs for inner city employees. The company also make sure to have responsible sourcing as their mission is to, “ensure that our vendors utilize efficient, safe and ethical factory environments where they can produce safe, reliable, high-quality products”(Target, 2020). This means ensuring the products they have in their stores were made leaving the least carbon footprint as possible along with the workers who have made the products are being treated well.

Although Target has put forth the effort to be socially responsible and do business in an ethical manner, the business has been accused of not doing so in some cases. In 2018, Target paid a settlement of $3.4 million and review their policies on job applicant screening. In the case of Carnella Times et al. v. Target Corp, it “claimed that Target’s use of criminal background checks violated Title VII by disproportionally excluding Black and Hispanic applicants from obtaining employment” (Bennett, 2018). Target would use a third party to conduct their minimal background checks and “weed out” the people who did not meet “Target’s hiring guidelines” (Bennett, 2018). This would include people who were, “convicted of certain crimes involving violence, theft, or controlled substances in the seven years prior to the application.” (Bennett, 2018). This included all different jobs that Target was hiring for like cashiers, maintenance, stockers, and more however the applicants were not told that. They stated, “Target’s hiring guidelines are not job-related or consistent with business necessity for hourly, entry level jobs such as food service workers, stockers, cashiers, and cart attendants” (Bennett, 2018). This means the guidelines are for upper management and not needed for the frontline workers. Applicants were upset because they were being shuffled out of the hiring mix based on guidelines that do not apply to the job position they were applying to.

I believe Target is “green” for both profit and environment. I think this because they put forth great effort in making sure they are corporately responsible in the world. From making sure their products are made with sustainable ingredients to collaborating with sustainable companies. They also ensure the vendors they are with are too responsible. However, given the market for “green” products, I am sure Target is pleased with the profits.

Bennett, M. (2018, April 09). Target’s $3.74 million settlement is a reminder to Employers Utilizing background checks. Retrieved February 21, 2021, from

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