During the coronavirus pandemic in New York City on April 14, 2020, people stand in line at Target in Kips Bay.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
Target said it will hire more black-owned companies, launch a program to identify and support promising minority entrepreneurs, and add products from more than 500 black-owned brands to its shelves or website.
Overall, the discounter said Wednesday it would spend more than $ 2 billion on black-owned companies by 2025.
“We have a long history of working with a variety of companies, but there is more we can do to create change in retail, support the black community, and ensure that black customers feel welcome and represented when they shop at Target,” Christina Hennington, Chief Growth Officer said in a press release.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and protests across the country have put pressure on corporate leaders to promote racial justice and do more than just cut a check – or run the risk of losing business. The unequal death toll from the coronavirus pandemic and the financial number of recessions have also highlighted the country’s stark racial disparities in terms of health care and economic opportunities.
Floyd was killed in Target’s hometown of Minneapolis, where the trial of the police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck took place today. A Target store near the place where Floyd died had to be completely rebuilt, and some of his other stores were damaged during the riots.
Corporations have been speaking out on diversity and inclusion while consumers are watching and some are turning their dollars towards companies that align with their values. Generation Z – the group of teenagers and early 20s who age to shop and build relationships with brands – are more concerned with social justice compared to previous generations. This is according to an annual poll by Piper Sandler released on Wednesday. Young people interviewed by the company ranked racial justice as their top political and social issue, followed by the environment and Black Lives Matter.
Last year, major retailers like Nike, Walmart, and Ulta Beauty launched their own pledges, such as: For example, provide more shelf space for black-owned products, evaluate how they hire and promote employees, see more blacks in their ads, and reduce the number of cops or security guards in stores to prevent racial profiling. A growing number of retailers, including Macy’s, Sephora, and Gap, have signed the 15 percent pledge, which aims to make black-owned products on store shelves proportional to the country’s black population.
Among the changes made by Target, the retailer said it would be more actively looking for advertisers, suppliers, construction companies and other types of black-owned businesses. It announced plans to create a program called Forward Founders for early-stage startups that will be run by black entrepreneurs and will help them develop, test, and scale products to be sold at mass retailers like Target. It’s based on Target Accelerators, a start-up program that the retailer uses to promote emerging brands and ultimately sell fresh and exclusive products that attract customers and help them stand out from the competition.
In some categories, such as beauty, Target has already established 50 Schwarz-owned and von Schwarz brands – but wants to add more for other types of goods.
The previous goal was to increase black representation in the workforce by 20% over the next three years. The company and its foundation donate $ 10 million to nonprofits that focus on removing barriers to black communities.