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Continued: Target using scoring system to look at product sustainability

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 10, 2013 - 6:29 AM

Personal-care products are “largely unregulated” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, making retailers de facto regulators, the report says.

“Wal-Mart and Target have more sales per year than many small countries’ GDP. So they are very influential,” said GoodGuide’s O’Rourke. “If the advocacy community can motivate a big buyer like Target, that has a big influence on global supply chains, it can have a wide-ranging impact, more so than federal regulation.”

One group that has lobbied Target to adopt a safe cosmetics policy is the virtual organization

“Moms not only have tremendous power in the voting booth, but also in terms of consumer power,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of the group, which has more than 1 million members. “Women make three-quarters of purchasing decisions.”

MomsRising circulated a petition last month urging Target to forbid toxic chemicals in the cosmetics it sells and to increase transparency on product labels. In an interview last week, Rowe-Finkbeiner applauded Target’s new sustainability standards and efforts at label transparency.

“We hear from moms all the time that they shouldn’t have to have a chemistry degree to buy personal care products. These products should be proven to be safe before they reach the shelves,” she said. “We’re tired of playing Whac-A-Mole with product recalls and constantly looking on the Internet to find the latest products that are unsafe.

“Manufacturers, retailers and legislators need to step up,” she said.


Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

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  • At the Target store in downtown Minneapolis, beauty concierge Chelsea Mathison used a Mini Ipad to help a customer, Stephanie Bauman with some questions.

  • «If the advocacy community can motivate a big buyer like Target that has a big influence on global supply chains, it can have a wide-ranging impact, more so than federal regulation.»Dara O’Rourke, co-founder and chief sustainability officer of GoodGuide

  • Target’s rating system How It Works

    Target has developed a tool to assess about 7,500 products in the personal care, beauty, household cleaning and baby-care categories. Cosmetics will be added in 2014. Using the UL Transparency Platform powered by GoodGuide, an online rating website, Target will collect information from vendors and evaluate their products.

    Total score: Each product gets a score from zero to 100, with 100 the top score. Ratings factor in ingredients, transparency and environmental impact. If no information is made available, the product will get a zero.

    Ingredients: Product contains no ingredients with high-level health concerns, such as those that cause cancer.

    High score: 50 points

    Transparency: Ingredient list is disclosed in a way that permits each chemical’s health and environmental impact to be assessed.

    High score: 20 points

    Animal Testing: Product was not tested on animals in development or in production.

    High score: 5 points

    Packaging: Product’s packaging sends minimal, even zero, waste to landfills. Label encourages recycling.

    High score: 20 points

    Water Quality: Product contains no ingredients that are hazardous to the aquatic environment.

    High score: 5 points

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