Target Lays Out First Green Goals: 10% Emissions and Water Cuts

Target Lays Out First Green Goals: 10% Emissions and Water Cuts

Target store - CC license by Flickr user MPD01605

Since adding recycling bins at its stores for the first time earlier this year, Target has finalized a set of company-wide goals covering emissions, water and more.

The retailer is aiming, by 2016, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent per square foot and 20 percent per dollar of sales, cut water use 10 percent per square foot and reduce how much waste it sends to landfill by 15 percent.

Target communications manager Jill Hornbacher said the company went with normalized goals, instead of overall absolute goals, so that it could focus on measuring how efficient its operations are.

To cut down on waste, Target (NYSE: TGT) will use a variety of tactics — avoiding waste, reusing and recycling — while auditing waste streams to see what can be done with the trash it's creating.

Target also wants 75 percent of its buildings, which equals a little over 1,300 stores, to earn the Energy Star mark. Target already has 145 stores and two office buildings carrying Energy Star certification.

Lastly, the company plans to to increase the transportation efficiency for non-food goods headed to its distribution centers by 15 percent and up 20 percent for goods leaving distribution centers. Target will be basing that measurement on how many cartons it moves per mile.

The company is also adopting some general, aspirational themes, like offering more sustainable products (it's working on defining what that means for different product categories, the company said), "empower guests and team members to easily lead a more sustainable lifestyle by providing the right information, tools, and incentives," and consider smart development principles when building stores.

Target started working on these goals about a year ago, taking input from various divisions in the company along with external experts, partners and non-governmental organizations, Hornbacher said.

Target store - CC license by Flickr user MPD01605