While it's always encouraging to see companies turn over a new leaf and adopt a more pro-active, sustainable approach to conducting business, we all know that for every one company that genuinely follows through with its lofty commitments, ten more will try to greenwash their way to that goal. Case in point is Target. Although it may claim to be committed to environmental values and to "respecting the communities and ecosystems" it "operates in" by reducing its energy impact, gaffes like this only serve to highlight the emptiness of their green rhetoric.
Ignoring five previous orders from the EPA to remove all cans of illegally imported confetti string products from its shelves, Target will be slapped with a $120,000 civil penalty for carrying and selling Horrible Spooky String. Many of these confetti string products are known to contain hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), toxic chemicals which, in addition to increasing one's risk of developing skin cancer, have been found to deplete the planet's ozone layer.
"Importers of consumer products containing illegal substances beware. EPA banned HCFC propellants in most spray cans more than a decade ago and importers must be careful to guard against bringing in products that could harm human health or the environment," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator.
Having received the message loud and clear, Target has agreed to follow EPA's guidelines by shipping the confetti products to an incinerator for destruction (about 785,516 cans' worth). Furthermore, it has also pledged to implement new policies to ensure such problems don't come up again and plans on auditing its operations. They've talked the talk before. Let's see them walk the walk.