Target Pledges to Spend $2B on Black-owned Suppliers by 2025
Target Corp. is ramping up its commitment to Black-owned businesses. On Wednesday, the Minneapolis-based retailer pledged to spend $2 billion on Black-owned suppliers by 2025.
As part of the effort, Target said it plans to add products to its shelves from more than 500 Black-owned companies. The retailer defines “Black owned” as any business that’s at least 51 percent owned, controlled, or operated by Black individuals.
In the past, Target has made commitments to increase its spend on businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as part of earlier diversity and inclusion goals. But Wednesday’s announcement pertains specifically to Black-owned suppliers.
“We have a rich history of working with diverse businesses, but there’s more we can do to spark change across the retail industry, support the Black community and ensure Black guests feel welcomed and represented when they shop at Target,” said Target’s executive VP and chief growth officer Christina Hennington in a news release.
Target is getting consulting help from the Center for Economic Inclusion, a St. Paul nonprofit that focuses on racial equity. Tawanna Black, the center’s founder and CEO, said that her organization has “begun consultation with Target’s procurement team to support them in fulfilling this pledge, specifically by strengthening internal policies, practices, and relationships with Black owned vendors such that the commitment can be met and measured in meaningful ways.”
Target said that it already has “strong representation” of Black-owned companies in certain product categories, such as its beauty department, which now has 50 Black-owned suppliers. For years, the retailer has hosted supplier events aimed at attracting a more diverse range of suppliers. In 2019, the company held a vendor fair for Black-owned businesses.
Meanwhile, Target also announced plans to launch a new accelerator-type program specifically for Black entrepreneurs. Known as “Forward Founders,” the program will provide Black entrepreneurs with resources to build and grow their startups. In the release, the company said the program will help entrepreneurs “navigate the critical stages of ideation, product development, and scaling for mass retail.”
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last year, Target and dozens of other big companies pledged to rethink their diversity practices and focus on racial equity. In September 2020, Target said it plans to increase its number of Black employees by 20 percent over the next three years. Fellow Twin Cities-based retailer Best Buy Co. in December 2020 rolled out plans to ramp up its own diversity initiatives over the next few years, including spending $44 million on career opportunities for BIPOC students.
The retailer has been leaning on a newly formed internal committee to help guide its new diversity efforts. Known as the Racial Equity Action and Change committee, or REACH, the group includes six senior-level Target employees, including Laysha Ward, the company’s executive VP and chief external engagement officer.