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Target Unveils New Sustainability Strategy Touching ‘Every Corner’ of the Business

Target Forward sustainability
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Target has laid out a new, wide-reaching sustainability strategy called Target Forward, featuring hard targets around eliminating waste and promoting circular product cycles, as well as inclusion and equity.

Target Forward is the result of nearly two years of gathering input across all areas of the business, researching the latest insights and collaboration with key external partners, said the company in a statement. The aim of the initiative is to “co-create a more equitable and regenerative future with [Target’s] guests, partners and communities,” which the retailer plans to do by designing and elevating sustainable brands, finding ways to eliminate waste and accelerating opportunity and equity.

Benchmark goals of the Target Forward initiative include:

  • By 2030, Target aims to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences;
  • By 2040, Target plans for 100% of its owned brand products to be designed for a circular future, i.e. either designed to eliminate waste by using materials that are regenerative, recycled or sourced sustainably, or creating products that are more durable, easily repaired or recyclable;
  • By 2040, Target commits to being a net zero enterprise — zero waste to landfill in its U.S. operations and net zero emissions across both its operations and supply chain;
  • By 2030, Target aims to build a team that equitably reflects the communities it serves, beginning with its commitment to increase Black team member representation across the company by 20% by 2023; and
  • Target and the Target Foundation will become even more deeply ingrained within communities, lifting up the voices and unique perspectives of community members to maximize positive impact.

“We want our guests to turn to Target first when they think about sustainability,” said Amanda Nusz, SVP of Corporate Responsibility at Target and President of the Target Foundation in a statement. “We know that the only way to make that possible is by putting both people and the planet at the center of our efforts, as we co-create with our guests, our partners and the communities we serve.”

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The Target Forward strategy builds on efforts Target already has undertaken toward both sustainability and inclusion. In 2019, Target set science-based targets for emissions reductions and also joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C coalition, designed to ensure that its emissions will contribute to no more than 1.5 degrees of warming. The retailer also has projects and partnerships in place that, when complete, will see Target purchase nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable sources, with the goal of reaching 100% by 2030.

Circular design principles already can be seen in Target’s owned brands such as Universal Thread and Everspring, and Target accelerated its commitments to sustainable packaging in 2018 when it became a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Additionally, in 2020, Target invested $1 billion more in the health and wellbeing of its team members, including the move to a starting wage of $15 in the U.S.

Target’s Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) committee was established in 2020 to accelerate the creation of racial equity for Black team members, guests and communities. REACH builds on 15 years of progress in creating a diverse workforce and setting diversity and inclusion goals for Target’s team and business.

“As a company and a member of the global community, it’s imperative for the health of both our business and our planet that we embrace new ways to move forward,” said Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target in a statement. “We know sustainability is tied to business resiliency and growth, and that our size and scale can drive change that is good for all. Target Forward influences every corner of our business, deepens our collaboration with our partners and builds on our past efforts to ensure a better future for generations to come.”

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