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Target Sets Its Sights on Scope 3 Emissions with New Climate Goals

The new goals will reduce the retail giant’s carbon footprint from source to shelf, as it works alongside its supply chain partners to lower emissions throughout its value chain.

Today, Target announced its most ambitious climate goals to date — to reduce its absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. The new goals will reduce the retail giant’s carbon footprint from source to shelf, as it works alongside its supply chain partners to lower emissions throughout its value chain. 

Target has made the following commitments:

  • To reduce its absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2017 levels by 2030.

  • 80 percent of its suppliers will set science-based reduction targets on their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2023.

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    These goals have been approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). 

This is the first time that Target has put its entire supply chain under a greenhouse gas reduction goal, from which 96 percent of emissions related to its business are generated; Target is one of only a few US retailers to have an SBTi-approved Scope 3 goal, setting a bar for the industry — as Levi Strauss did for the apparel industry with its similarly ambitious goals last year.

The new goals build on — and increase the impact of — Target’s previous science-based climate goals, set in 2017. In a blog post this morning, Target says the key will be unifying its suppliers around these same goals.

“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,” said Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. “We have a responsibility to our guests and the environment to set high expectations and encourage ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, promoting positive change throughout the industry to have an even greater impact for generations to come.”

To refresh, greenhouse gas emissions are broken down into three categories:

  • Scope 1: Emissions generated from Target facilities

  • Scope 2: Emissions from energy purchased to power Target facilities

  • Scope 3: Emissions generated from the entire supply chain, such as the creation of the products and services sold at Target

Target partnered with industry expert Anthesis for guidance to ensure these goals met the rigorous requirements of the SBTi.

“It’s vital for companies, particularly major retailers, to lower the emissions in their supply chain if they are serious about addressing their environmental impact,” said Dexter Galvin, Global Director of Corporations & Supply Chains at CDP, an SBTi partner. “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.”

The plan

To reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions, Target says it will continue to ramp up investments in renewable energy and energy-saving efforts across the business — including installing LED lights in stores and offices, offsetting the electricity use of 60 area stores with its Texas wind power project, and adding solar rooftop panels at 500 locations by 2020.

 To reduce Scope 3 emissions, the retailer says it will work with its suppliers to transition to renewable energy sources and implement their own emissions-reduction projects. It will also expand its Clean by Design initiative, by partnering with the Apparel Impact Institute to scale performance improvement programs that focus on reducing energy use and emissions in our suppliers’ factories; and leverage its Vietnam Improvement Program in partnership with the International Finance Corporation as it increases factories’ energy and water efficiency. 


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