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Target sets first corporate sustainability targets

Target sets first corporate sustainability targets

Posting in Energy

Although the retailer has been giving away 5 percent of its profits for the community good since 1946, this is the first time it has set formal environmental goals.

Minneapolis-based retailer Target has been giving away five percent of its profits to community charities and programs since 1946, long before it became the "in" thing to do. The company hasn't had really formal goals related to the environmental or sustainability, although it has been acting in that manner for probably 30 years. That has changed with the release of its new five-year plan for environmental sustainability.

The goals are normalized, not absolute, which Target says is a move it made in order to better track fluctuations in its operational efficiency over time. Among the specific targets are the following:

  • A plan to earn the Energy Star rating for up to 75 percent of its buildings, which is a huge commitment when you think about it. Target it moving toward this goal with technologies such as LED lights and motion sensors in its refrigerator cases and low-wattage fixtures out on the sales floor. Outside, moving toward white roofing helps reflect sunlight and reduce cooling needs, and LEDs are now being used for exterior signs. It already has the Energy Star retailer rating for 100 stores. (It has more than 1,750 stores across 49 states.)
  • The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent per square foot and 20 percent per dollar of retail sales.
  • The proposed cut in operating waste sent to landfills is 15 percent
  • The planned water consumption cut is 10 percent per square foot
  • Another biggie: Make the inbound transportation policies to its distribution centers up to 15 percent more efficient and the outbound transportation up to 20 percent more efficient.

Of course, Target also has the opportunity to lead its "guests" to a more sustainable lifestyle, something it has pledged to do with a broader selection of products that were either manufactured or harvested with environmental sustainability in mind.

The retailer is actually ranked first on the Greenpeace Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard. No one has a particularly great score, but at least Target doesn't have any catching up to do.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure