Target – Pesticide Disclosure (2024)

Outcome: Withdrawn after the company committed to engage with external expert organizations on pesticide measuring and reduction and continued engagement with shareholders.

RESOLVED: Shareholders of Target Corporation (“Target”) request that the board of directors issue a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, explaining if and how the company is measuring and curtailing pesticide use in its agricultural supply chains that cause harm to human health, pollinators, and the environment.

SUPPORTING STATEMENT:  While specific metrics are left to management’s discretion, shareholders recommend that Target disclose the following information:

  • Type and quantity of pesticides avoided annually through targeted strategies in prioritized crops;
  • Prioritization of pesticides for reduction or elimination aligned with classifications set by authoritative scientific bodies, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;[1]
  • Company targets and timelines, if any, for pesticide reduction.

WHEREAS: A third of the food we eat is dependent on pollinators; but pollinator species are declining at alarming rates in significant part due to the use of toxic pesticides on farms.[2] Further, a recent study shows pesticide toxicity has more than doubled since 2005 for many invertebrates that are critical to soil health.[3][4]

Pesticide exposure is associated with serious health effects in humans from increased risk of cancers to developmental defects in infants and children.[5][6] Health advocates have cautioned consumers about residues of glyphosate in food products[7] and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology cites linkage between health harms and exposures to toxic pesticides.[8]

Target offers minimal disclosures on its approach to managing pesticide pollution. In 2021, Target implemented a pollinator health policy encouraging suppliers to limit non-essential use of pesticides to all produce, live plant, and flower supply chains. Yet, absent timebound or measurable targets, investors and other stakeholders cannot assess its effectiveness.

Target, while steadily growing food and beverage revenues from 19% in 2019 to 21% in 2022[9] has fallen behind peers who have set timebound measurable commitments:[10]

  • Walmart set a goal to source 100 percent of fresh produce and floral from suppliers that adopt integrated pest management (IPM) practices, as verified by a third party, by 2025.
  • Giant Eagle requires produce suppliers to eliminate use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids, adopt IPM practices by 2025, and tracks progress via third-party certification.
  • Costco reports annually on the percent of live good suppliers that have eliminated use of neonicotinoids, chlorpyrifos, organophosphates, and glyphosate. Seventeen suppliers are certified through the Equitable Food Initiative on implementing IPM practices and ensuring farmworker health and safety.

Ten U.S. states have restricted neonicotinoid use[11] and the landmark Global Biodiversity Framework calls for the reduction of the overall risk from pesticides by at least half by 2030.[12]

In a competitive marketplace increasingly demanding sustainable food and reduced stakeholder and environmental harm, understanding and tracking supplier use of pesticides can help reduce risk for shareholders and our company.

[1] See PAN International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides:












Quick Search

Filter proposals by issue type or company

Latest Shareholder Proposals