Target commits to 100% renewables as part of science-based targets approach

Clothing giant Target has unveiled a revamped climate policy that will see the retailer commit to the Science-Based Targets Initiative to reduce emissions by 25% and source 100% renewable electricity "in the coming years".

Target set a new goal to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2022 for its owned and exclusive national brands across apparel, home and essential products earlier this month, and has since increased ambitions for carbon reductions.

The company has pledged to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 25% by 2025 against a 2015 baseline and will endeavour to develop a reduction target for Scope 3 emissions within a year, which is a key component of the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI).

“Target has long been committed to making our business more sustainable, which leads to a stronger, cleaner supply chain and operations, and a healthier environment for our team members and guests,” the company’s chief executive Brian Cornell said.

“That’s why we’re setting goals to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint, and working with our industry partners, policymakers and other stakeholders to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The 100% renewable target will be met “in the coming years” and builds on the retailer’s work to date to install solar panels onsite. A goal is in place to have 500 buildings fitted with solar panels by 2020, and 350 projects have so far been completed. In 2016, Target added more than 75MW across its stores.

The new strategy outlines plans to drive energy and water efficiency across operations and Target’s supply chain, including a goal to avoid two million tonnes of supply chain emissions each year for own-brand clothes by 2022.

Target also hinted that it would invest in lower-carbon transportation systems, including electric vehicle (EV) innovations. The company will also support communities heavily impacted by climate change to improve their resilience to factors like extreme weather events.

Science-based targets

More than 300 companies have now pledged to SBTI, which reviews business emission targets to ensure they are aligned to the 2C or 1.5C pathway of the Paris Agreement, and only ones that meet strict criteria are approved.

Of the committed pledges, 72 science-based targets have been approved through the initiative, including 41 this year. Recent approvals include M&S, Tesco, Mars, HP and Kering.

A recent report from the Carbon Trust – which works with corporates to set science-based targets – found that just three major corporates – BT, Carlsberg and Tesco – have aligned emissions reductions to a trajectory that would achieve the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement.

Matt Mace

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