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Target Discloses Ambitious Goals on Climate Change for its Entire Supply Chain

Target Corp. is designing for tomorrow by setting a reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions for its entire supply chain.

The broader carbon footprint mandate expands on its climate policy goals initiated in October 2017 and is aligned with the company’s corporate responsibility vision Future at Heart. The latter includes consideration of how the company can elevate the “well-being of the people in our manufacturing supply chain communities.”

Wednesday’s new initiative, which the discounter disclosed in blog post, expands the 2017 goals and lays out a new “reduction target for our entire supply chain, where 96 percent of greenhouse gas emissions related to our business come from.” (emphasis from Target)

According to the Target blog post, the key “will be unifying our suppliers around these same goals, whether they’re working with the raw materials that create our products, or they’re manufacturing and transporting those products to our shelves.”

Brian Cornell, Target’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Our new climate goals will reduce our carbon footprint from source to shelf, as we work alongside our partners within our supply chain to lower emissions and help create a better tomorrow.”

The company has a responsibility to its guests and the environment, Cornell said, to “set high expectations and encourage ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” as well as promote positive change throughout the industry to have a greater impact for future generations.

The greenhouse emissions are divided into three components. Scope 1 concerns emissions generated from Target facilities. Scope 2 is connected to energy the retailer purchases to power Target facilities. Scope 3 concerns emissions generated from the entire supply chain, what Target describes as the “creation of the products and services we sell.”

Under the updated initiative, Target plans to reduce greenhouse emissions by 30 percent below 2017 levels by 2030 for all three components. Separately, Target also said it is “committing that 80 percent of our suppliers will set science-based reduction targets on the Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2023.” That improves on the original initiative to have reductions in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 2015 levels by 2025, and the implementation of projects in company-owned manufacturing facilities that would avoid 2 million metric tons of Scope 3 emissions annually by 2022. The October 2017 initiatives were based on the global environmental accord of the Paris Agreement and the Science Based Target initiative.

“We applaud Target for setting ambitious goals covering their entire supply chain, and hope more companies can follow in their footsteps to boldly address and combat climate change, to create a thriving economy for people and planet,” Dexter Galvin, global director of corporations and supply chains at CDP, a Science Based Target initiative partner, said. He noted that lowering emissions in supply chains is vital for companies, particularly major retailers, if they are serious about addressing their environmental impact.

Target on Wednesday said it worked with Anthesis for guidance to make sure the new goals met the “rigorous requirements of the Science Based Target initiative,” noting that adding the Scope 3 reduction goal places the discounter among the select U.S. firms that have the approved Science Base Target initiative goals to reduce carbon emissions throughout its supply chain.

The discounter said in the blog post that is is already ramping up investments in renewable energy. Already LED lights are being installed it its buildings. Furthermore, its Texas wind power project offsets electricity use at 60 area stores. And solar rooftop panels are being added at 500 locations by 2020. Target noted that its efforts are being recognized as it’s twice been named the top U.S. corporate solar installer and is now a three-time named energy STAR Partner of the Year.

As it looks to Scope 3 emission reductions, Target said it is working with suppliers to “transition to renewable energy sources and implement their own emissions reduction projects.” Other projects for Target that’s on the agenda include expanding the Clean by Design initiative, partnering with Apparel Impact Institute to scale performance improvement programs focusing on reduction of energy use and emissions in its suppliers’ factories and leveraging its Vietnam Improvement Program in partnership with the International Finance Corp. to increase energy and water efficiencies at factories.

The fashion and retail industries have been taking an in-depth look at how to curtail emissions and reduce their carbon footprints, as well as eye sources of renewable energy. Among the major companies working on different initiatives include Walmart, VF, PVH, Nike and shipping firms such as Maersk.

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