four game-changing Target sustainability projects

August 30, 2013 - Article reads in
A Target Canada store, Simply Balanced and apparel products, and a guest shopping with a team member

When Target set out to make a positive impact in the communities where we do business, we knew it would take talented teams with innovative ideas to move the needle on the things that matter the most. We’ve set goals to help guide us along the way, and the results will help tell the story of how Target strengthens communities where our team members and guests live and work.

Take a look at four big projects happening right now that are helping us make progress toward the goals we set in the area of Environment. The teams driving them forward were recognized at Target’s 2013 Sustainability Forum for their hard work toward integrating sustainable practices throughout our business.

Advancing sustainability in food
This year, Target made a big splash when we introduced our new wellness- and sustainability-focused owned brand, Simply Balanced. The effort went from an idea to reality in just 14 months, introducing more than 230 products to our assortment, nearly 30 percent of which are new.

Grocery wellness captain Jamie Fortin, senior group manager, Product Design, Merchandising, led the effort. “We know our guests are increasingly seeking natural and organic food options,” he says. “It’s exciting that Target is making strides in the grocery wellness space and that we’re able to offer delicious and wholesome foods at a value.” As part of that commitment to wellness, the Simply Balanced collection will be free of all GMO ingredients by the end of 2014, and will help keep us on track to reach our new goal to increase organic offerings by 25 percent by the end of 2017.

The Higg Index
In 2011, Target became a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a partnership with more than 80 leading footwear and apparel brands focused on reducing the environmental impact of the industry. In 2012, we took our partnership a step further through the adoption of The Higg Index, an industry tool that creates a common approach for measuring and evaluating sustainability performance in the supply chain.

“So far, we’ve used the index to perform self-assessments of more than 3,000 facilities that produce Target-sourced owned brand product,” says Scott Lercel, director, Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Target Sourcing Services. In fact, the team received a 95 percent assessment completion rate from global vendors. This assessment has been incorporated into our vendor scorecard and will inform future business decisions.

Clean by Design
In 2012, Target teams – including the Product Design & Development Global team, Fabric Sourcing and Target Sourcing Services Sustainability – partnered with the Natural Resource Defense Council in an industry-leading pilot called Clean By Design, to reduce water, energy and materials in our supply chain by as much as 12 percent.

“It took more than a year and a half from the first facility evaluation to the final audit reports,” Ada Suneson, director, Technical Services, Product Design & Development. “But the small changes we made added up to some big savings for the company.” Included are an annual environmental savings of more than 365,000 tons of water, more than 555,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and an annual cost savings of about $1.5 million.

LEED certification for Canadian stores
As Target prepared to enter the Canadian market this past spring, we affirmed our commitment to sustainability through an effort to achieve LEED certification for all 124 of our stores opening in Canada in 2013.

“Other retailers in Canada take a case-by-case approach to LEED, so Target had a unique opportunity to show our commitment to smart development by going big on LEED certification,” says Vanessa Matiski, director, Architecture, Property Development.

To make it happen, teams worked on thousands of pages of documentation required to make our submission to the U.S. Green Building Council, and made many connections between teams and leaders to keep everyone on the same page. The effort is already paying off; so far, 28 of our 2013 Canada stores have achieved the certification, with the rest scheduled to be certified later this year.

And these are just a few of the exciting projects helping us stay on track to reach our goals. Visit the Environment pages to learn more about how Target integrates sustainability throughout our business.

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