Op-ed

How I delivered 455,000 signatures to Target’s HQ:

Jan 14, 2020

Thousands of people on Change.org are making history with an amazing petition delivery and call for change. They’re asking one of the country’s biggest retailers to take a stand to protect our environment. 

My name is Theresa Carter, and I started a petition asking Target to end its use of plastic bags. As a mom, a Target customer, and someone who cares deeply about the health of our planet and wildlife, I know that the clock is ticking for us to act. We have learned that plastic permeates our oceans and landscape and is even in our snow and rain. Plastic pollution is a huge problem for our communities and our planet and we all need to band together to address it.

IKEA and Costco have long provided people a shopping experience without plastic bags, and I thought “If those stores can do it, why can’t Target?”

Over the past few months, more than 455,000 people agreed. Once I saw how many people care about this issue and want Target to act, I knew I had to take this message directly to Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Right after the holidays, during one of Target’s busiest days for shopping, I went to downtown Minneapolis to Target’s corporate headquarters. Joined by other Target customers, we carried over 455,000 signatures to Target. We brought boxes carrying the petition, signs, and reusable shopping bags.

Oh, and we invited reporters to the delivery to shine a light on the customer voices asking Target to change and to show Target the country was watching and invested in its answer. The media showed up.  

Over the last two weeks, more than 1,200 media outlets from around the country carried news about this petition delivery. The coverage has made it one of the biggest media stories surrounding a Change.org petition in the last year. CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and the Associated Press are just some of the top-tier outlets that broke the story.

But the real story, of course, is this: because of the people power behind this petition, tens of millions of people around the country now have seen on their local news that customers like them are joining together because they want Target to stand up for the environment and eliminate plastic bags. And they are invested in Target’s answer.

We have Target’s attention. You can see in the photo above that one of Target’s executives came down to accept the petition and meet with us. When I shook this executive’s hand, I had one simple message for her on behalf of the nearly half a million people who signed my petition:

This is a perfect time for Target to make a New Year’s resolution to take an important step in reducing its plastic pollution footprint by eliminating plastic bags. These bags never truly go away and have a massive impact on the environment. We want Target to know that ultimately its customers will love them for doing the right thing for the planet.

Check out this quick video about the petition delivery. In just 30 seconds, you can see the people-power on display that day.  

This campaign isn’t over. Target hasn’t made a commitment — yet. But Target knows that it is holding the heartfelt formal request of hundreds of thousands of customers across the country who are watching and waiting to see how it will respond.

And the momentum is on our side. Stores like Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Giant Eagle, and others made moves in 2019 to curb plastic bag pollution. It’s now Target’s turn, and because of your support, I can say for a fact that I know Target is feeling consumer pressure to take this step to save our planet.

Let’s keep up the fight, and together we’ll convince one of the country’s biggest retailers to end the use of plastic bags.