water

We’re finding new ways to manage water sustainably, putting the needs of people, communities and the planet at the heart of how we work today to help build a better tomorrow.

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a fresh approach

Clean water sources are disappearing at an alarming rate, and it’s up to all of us to help design solutions for the future. In 2018, we introduced a freshwater stewardship approach that builds on our existing water management aspirations:

At Target, we believe that clean, drinkable water and sanitation are human rights and should be accessible for all. Healthy ecosystems and sustainable water management are essential in the delivery of these basic rights.  

Water is important to the success of our business operations, from our supply chains to our stores and the communities within which we operate. We’ll focus our freshwater stewardship efforts in areas and on issues where our influence and support can help deliver the greatest impact.

the AgWater Challenge

We’re proud to be the first retailer to join Ceres and the World Wildlife Fund’s AgWater Challenge, and make the following commitments to help preserve and protect freshwater resources in the global agricultural supply chain. 

  • We’ll promote sustainable water management in California as an active member of the California Water Action Collaborative, and by engaging collectively with other companies to support public policies that advance resilient water solutions through Ceres’ Connect the Drops campaign.
  • We’ll collaborate with suppliers through the Field to Market Fieldprint R Platform to address soil health issues, developing time-bound, measurable goals to improve soil health across corn and soy acres and ensure progress on water quality is made by reducing agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River Basin.
  • We’ll support future development of small grains and cover crops grown in rotation with corn and soybeans, as part of a collaboration with Practical Farmers of Iowa and Sustainable Food Lab. The project seeks to develop a market solution for climate and water protection in the Corn Belt and engage key supply chain partners on associated feasibility studies.
landscaping outside a Target

making connections

Our water goals connect directly into our broader sustainability framework, including our chemical strategy. For example, we recently joined the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme, and will use its wastewater guidelines for our 2025 manufacturing goal for water. The guidelines were designed to help companies reduce hazardous chemicals in manufacturing and prevent them from being discharged in wastewater and impacting surrounding communities. 

what we'll do

We created our freshwater stewardship approach and initial goals in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). They’re designed to help us deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and help us address three important issues in communities where we operate: 

  • improving water quality
  • optimizing water efficiency
  • increasing access to clean water

our focus areas and goals

We’ve focused our efforts and set initial goals in four key areas where we can make the most impact:

 

raw materials

Our water footprint starts with growing the raw materials needed to produce our products, such as food and fiber, so we’re working to better understand our basin-level impacts to prioritize our responses.

By 2022: Source 100% sustainable cotton for our owned brand and exclusive national brand products

 

manufacturing

Working in our areas of greatest impact, we’ll enable our owned-brand manufacturers to do more with less water where local conditions demand, and aim for net-positive water quality outcomes in priority watersheds for people and nature.  

By 2022: Improve water efficiency in textile dyeing and finishing factories located in priority watersheds by 15%  

By 2025: Design 100% of garment washed owned-brand apparel utilizing water saving design principles  

By 2025: All owned-brand apparel textile facilities comply with Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Progressive level wastewater standard

 

direct operations

Across our stores, distribution centers and headquarters locations, we’re taking action to reduce water scarcity, improve water quality outcomes and manage stormwater flows.  

By 2025: 15% absolute water reduction for stores, distribution centers and headquarters locations (baseline 2010)  

Over the next 24 months: We’ll seek to understand Target’s position on water quality within our U.S. building operations

 

beyond the fenceline

We’ll work with others around the world to encourage progress in the areas above and beyond our own business and operations, through cross-sector partnerships, team member engagement, philanthropic investments and more.

 

read more about our goals and reporting

photo of Target store

our partners

We couldn’t do it alone—our valued partnerships with leading experts around the world help us keep our efforts moving forward.

For example, in 2018, we made an initial $1 million investment in Water.org. We’ll work together to empower people in communities where our goods are produced, enhancing their lives by removing barriers to access affordable financing for water and sanitation.

We’re continuing water conservation work that’s already in progress too, like our recent efforts with Conserva Irrigation to optimize the outdoor irrigation systems at our stores. This has already saved more than 36 million gallons of water, and will be in place at more than 300 stores by the end of 2018.

Meet our partners:

  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Water.org
  • Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC)
  • Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)

good to know

  • Target is proud to be an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • We’ve saved 36 million+ gallons of water by optimizing outdoor irrigation systems at 176 stores

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Target’s approach provides a holistic vision to drive solutions that will bring us closer to a sustainable and water-secure future.

Sheila Bonini
senior vice president, private sector engagement, World Wildlife Fund