Target's diversity chief, Kiera Fernandez, pictured top row, right, poses with her teammates at an event.
Target is stepping up its efforts to increase racial equity in the U.S. by pledging to invest more than $2 billion in Black-owned businesses by the end of 2025.
Target is pledging to add products across its multi-category assortment from more than 500 Black-owned businesses and engage more Black-owned companies to enhance its retail operations and shopping experience. In addition to spending more with Black-owned companies, Target is introducing new resources to help its Black-owned vendors grow and scale their businesses in mass retail.
"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 Christina Hennington, EVP and chief growth officer, Target. "The bold actions we're announcing today reflect Target's ongoing commitment to advance racial equity for the Black community. They also represent significant economic opportunity for hundreds of new Black-owned companies, who we look forward to doing business with for years to come."
After last year’s George Floyd protests, grocery retailers such as Target, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons and others have made various pledges to increase spending on racial equity efforts.
The $2 billion commitment aims to build on Target's progress to increase its network of diverse suppliers and accelerates its efforts to support even more Black-owned businesses. Target says it is establishing new resources, including a team that is dedicated to providing vendors with ongoing support and assisting them in growing and successfully scaling their businesses in mass retail. Building off the success of Target Accelerators, a portfolio of programs supporting entrepreneurs to drive innovation and instigate change, the company is introducing a new program called Forward Founders. This program will engage Black entrepreneurs earlier in their startup journey to help them navigate the critical stages of ideation, product development and scaling for mass retail. With increased access to subject matter experts and educational workshops earlier in the startup process, Forward Founders is designed to help Black-owned businesses increase their potential for long-term success in retail.
Through Target Accelerators and events such as the Black-Owned Business Vendor Fair, Target has brought in diverse businesses who have products ready for sale at retail. In some product categories, like beauty, Target has a strong representation of 50 Black-owned and Black-founded brands, with plans to continue to grow the assortment.
The latest announcement from Target is a part of the retailer's larger commitment to social justice and racial equity.
Last year, Target established its Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) committee that is composed of senior leaders from across the company who represent a diverse range of perspectives and expertise and guide the retailer's efforts to engage in the fight to end systemic racism in the U.S. and drive lasting impact for the Black community. This investment builds upon Target's previous commitments, including committing $10 million from Target and the Target Foundation to support nonprofit partners focused on addressing the systemic and structural barriers facing Black communities.
Target is also promising to increase representation of Black employees across the company by 20% over the next three years.
The pledge is part of the company's 2019 Workforce Diversity Report, which shows that the retailer’s workforce of nearly 350,000 employees skews white, particularly among its top executives. About 75% of its leadership team is white and 8% are Black. Its overall workforce is 50% white workers, 25% Latino and 15% Black.
Target says it has doubled representation of company non-white officers in the past five years to nearly 30%. Of that, though, only 5% are Black. It also touted diversity among store managers: More than half of its stores are run by women and a third are managed by people of color.
Target's action plan for improving its diversity metrics includes:
Leveraging stores, supply chain and HQ experiences to provide broader leadership pathways for Black team members to develop and advance.
Developing programs to hire and retain Black team members in career areas with low levels of representation, including technology, data sciences, merchandising and marketing.
Increasing Target’s network of mentors and sponsors to help Black team members accelerate and advance their careers.
Ensuring Target’s benefits and partnerships drive wellness and safety for Black team members.
Conducting anti-racism training for leaders and team members that educate, build inclusion acumen, and foster a sense of belonging.
“The changes we’re making are going to have a meaningful impact on the careers of our Black team members and prospective team members,” said Kiera Fernandez, VP, HR and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “A diverse and inclusive team at Target is one where there’s equity in how we promote, retain and hire team members. Additional leadership development, training programs and mentorship for our Black team members, along with a focus in areas of the business where our Black representation is not as strong, will offer new career development opportunities for our team for years to come. And we know the support we have for our team helps extend our reach outside our walls, creating a ripple effect that impacts our guests and communities.”