Target Outlines New Corporate Responsibility Goals

The company said it will increase its sustainable seafood selection, make the packaging of at least 50 of its owned-brand products more sustainable, boost the percentage of employees enrolled in its company health plan who are tested for diabetes, and invest in programs that help increase U.S. reading proficiency.

Target Corporation on Monday released its 2011 corporate responsibility report, in which the Minneapolis-based retailer reported on its progress toward previously announced company goals and outlined four new initiatives.

Among the new goals: Target plans to make the packaging of at least 50 of its owned-brand products more sustainable by the end of its 2016 fiscal year. The company said that the designs of those products should improve by at least 10 percent based on one of several characteristics, including reduced packaging, increased recycled or renewable elements, and reduced product waste.

Target also set a goal of offering only “sustainable and traceable” seafood by the end of its 2015 fiscal year. In October, when the company first announced plans to make that transition, it defined sustainable and traceable seafood as that which is “caught or raised in an environmentally sensitive manner.” By taking steps like eliminating farmed salmon from its stores, Target has thus far made 40 percent of its seafood selection sustainable.

The other new goals: Boost the percentage of Target employees and their families enrolled in Target health plans who are tested for diabetes, and improve reading proficiency in the United States by revamping school libraries, providing grants to schools, and implementing literacy pilot programs.

In its corporate responsibility report, Target also discussed its progress toward a variety of other goals. For example, Target employees in 2011 donated more than 475,000 volunteer hours. The company said that figure “has us on track to reach our ultimate goal of 700,000 volunteer hours annually” by the end of the 2015 fiscal year.

Target previously set a goal of doubling its 2009 education giving—which totaled $500 million—by the end of 2015. The company donated $100 million to support education in 2011, boosting its cumulative giving to $679 and bringing it a step closer to that $1 billion goal.

Target said it is also on track to achieve goals pertaining to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in employees using company-provided financial tools and resources, and the improvement of transportation efficiencies, among other things.

The company, however, hasn’t kept up with all of its goals. For example, Target has fallen behind on its goal to reduce water use by 10 percent per square foot by the end of the 2015 fiscal year, as compared to 2009. In addition, the company had set a goal of earning Energy Star certifications for 75 percent of its U.S. buildings by the end of 2015, but only 21 percent have received the designation thus far.

While the company sent 33 percent of its waste to a landfill in 2011, up 1 percent compared to 2009, Target claimed it remains on track to reduce such waste by 15 percent by the end of the 2015 fiscal year.

Tim Baer, Target executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, said in a statement that the company’s corporate responsibility goals “foster greater transparency and accountability on initiatives that help put more U.S. children on the path to graduation, reduce our impact on the environment, and help Target team members and their families live healthy, balanced lives.”

Target, which has 1,763 stores nationwide, often touts its philanthropic efforts; for example, it gives 5 percent of its income—currently, more than $3 million per week—through community grants and programs.

To read Target’s full corporate responsibility report, click here.

Target is Minnesota’s second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $68.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in January.