Report cards aren’t only for students.
Target recently published its 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report, which outlines the corporate responsibility goals that the company shared for the first time a year ago and details the progress that’s been made since then.
We sat down with Tim Baer, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, to ask about Target’s progress in the past year.
What’s your role at Target, and how does that tie to corporate responsibility efforts?
Tim Baer: Corporate Social Responsibility is a passion of mine – both personally and professionally. In fact, Target’s record of strong ethics was one of the key selling points for me when I decided to come to work here. As corporate secretary, I have responsibilities that include working with the Corporate Responsibility Committee of our Board of Directors. I also serve as an executive sponsor for Target’s corporate social responsibility work, overseeing and advising various efforts throughout the company.
Why is corporate responsibility important to Target and what do you hope to accomplish with these goals?
TB: The strength of our reputation and the health of our communities are essential to Target’s success. From the time we opened our doors in 1962, we set out to build a sustainable business that strengthened communities for the long term. And that spirit remains with us today. It is an important part of our reputation and our brand. By working with community, business and civic leaders in areas in which we have shared interests, Target can help build stronger, healthier and safer communities.
Tell us about Target’s focus on the three different areas: education, environment and well-being.
TB: Our guests tell us that education is their top social concern and we know that today’s children are Target’s future team members and guests. That’s why we are on track to give $1 billion to education by the end of 2015. Through Target School Library Makeovers, book donations, grants and other programs, we hope to improve reading proficiency – a key milestone towards high school graduation.
Target’s efforts around environmental sustainability run throughout our business, from operational efficiencies, like reducing fuel and waste, to the products we sell, like sustainable seafood, to ways in which we empower our team members and guests to live more sustainable lives. Think about the difference you can make by bringing a reusable bag every time you shop at Target, or recycling your plastic bags at the recycle stations at all our stores.
And finally, we place a high priority on team member wellness. We encourage our team members to live healthier lives and provide access to health assessments and recommended health screenings. In addition to those three areas, Target also partners with law enforcement to ensure our guests and team members are safe, and we work closely with our suppliers to ensure our products meet the highest standards.
What’s new about this year’s report?
TB: Last year marked a significant milestone for Target because for the first time we publicly stated goals. This year, we’re taking the next step toward transparency by reporting on our progress. As you’ll see in the report, we’re on track toward meeting some of our goals, and have work to do in others. We also added four new goals this year, focused on sustainable seafood, our packaging, team member health testing and reading proficiency.
How does Target see its corporate responsibility commitments evolving in the future?
TB: At Target, we are always learning from our experiences, and looking for ways to improve. This holds true for our commitments as well. We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made, but we’ll continue to work toward meeting our goal, increasing transparency, and building on our legacy of corporate citizenship.
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