As the American government tries to make progress in alignment with the Black Lives Matter movement, corporations are already taking the lead. Target, the national retailer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota – the very place where George Floyd was murdered by on-duty police officers – has announced that it plans to purchase at least $2 billion from Black-owned businesses by 2025 in an effort to distribute wealth to the Black community.
Although Target does not want to share their numbers regarding buying from Black-owned businesses, they confirmed that their $2 billion commitment is a massive increase to what they’re already spending at Black businesses. The company plans to work with more than 500 Black-owned businesses and is looking to work with more of these companies throughout all levels of the corporation. Not only will more products featured at Target come from Black businesses, but the giant retailer will also look to work with Black businesses in construction, marketing, and other business functions.
“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, executive vice president, and chief growth officer at Target, in a prepared statement.
Other companies are also looking for ways to incorporate more of the Black community in their retail stores. Aurora James, founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, created the 15 Percent Pledge as a nonprofit advocacy group last year in response to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of Floyd’s killing.
Many large companies have joined the 15 Percent Pledge, including Sephora, Gap, and Macy’s. These companies vow to include at least 15 percent of their products from Black-owned businesses. This number simply mirrors the Black population in America and is looking to include equal representation for people of color in the retail world. James and her organization are working to create a directory of Black-owned businesses, so companies can easily meet the 15 percent quota and feature more products from Black-owned businesses in their store to celebrate diversity.
Kendra Bracken-Ferguson works like a beauty and wellness brand development specialty and digital marketer. She believes that Target’s $2 billion commitment will make a difference for the Black community.
“Ultimately, Target is creating the pipeline that will fundamentally change how retailers must handle new brands coming into their stores,” Bracken-Ferguson said.
However, Jeffrey Robinson, associate professor and academic director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development at Rutgers Business School, is not so optimistic. He believes Target is not doing enough because $2 billion is barely two percent of the company’s most recent annual sales of $93.5 billion.
“I applaud them for making the commitment, but let’s see if they can exceed it,” he said.
Although the government may not be making changes in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, these companies can change the way they do business to help the Black community.
What do you think about Target’s proposed plan?
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