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Target sustainability efforts include returns center, clean energy

target net zero store
Target's Vista store has 3,420 solar panels across its roof and carport canopies.

Target is pursuing a broad range of initiatives to promote sustainability across its operations. 

As part of a plan to hit net zero emissions by 2040, the discounter is investing in numerous projects across the country. These include building the largest rooftop solar array in the state of New York on its distribution center in Wilton. The 7.5-megawatt system, which will go live this year, will provide enough watts of electricity to power over 1,200 homes annually and will eliminate Target’s electric bill at the site.

Target's location in Vista, Calif. is its first store designed to be net-zero energy — incorporating both rooftop and parking lot canopy solar panels. With its over 3,400 solar panels now fully operational, it is producing over 100% of the site’s energy needs. As of 2023, more than 580 Target sites across the country have rooftop solar, with more planned.

In Texas, Target is partnering with Swift Current Energy to buy power from its Castle Gap Wind project, supporting the company’s goal to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources for our operations by 2030.

In other efforts, Target’s first owned and operated returns center in Upper Marlboro, Md., takes overstock, clearance, customer returns and damaged merchandise from its stores and distribution centers and sorts them for recycling, returning to vendors and resale.  According to Target, the center reduces how much damaged product ends up in landfills and could reveal more ways to reuse materials in new products designed for circularity.

Target is also working toward its company goal of designing all of its owned-brand products for circularity by 2040, with the Universal Thread and Everspring lines both slated to hit the milestone in 2025. This includes the launch of two Universal Thread products made with yarn blended with fibers collected from used garments and manufacturing scraps. 

 The discounter is also continuing to expand its electric vehicle charging network, which includes more than 1,800 spaces across more than 220 stores.

Other efforts

During 2023 Target says it cut more than 35 million miles by sending fewer but fuller trailers of product to distribution centers and stores. And facilities that take online orders packaged at our stores and sort them for delivery are combining multiple deliveries in local neighborhoods, which further cuts down on the miles packages travel to reach customers.

The retailer is also partnering with Schneider Electric to support suppliers using renewable energy in its “Forward Renew” program, and continues to serve as a founding partner of the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag. 

In 2024, Target received the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for sustained excellence in energy management, which recognizes businesses that improve the energy performance of their operations and help reduce energy use through product assortment, for the ninth year in a row. 

"All year long, Target takes a holistic approach to sustainability — finding ways to infuse sustainable practices throughout our operations while inviting our customers to engage in ways that are most meaningful to them," said Amanda Nusz Senior, VP of corporate responsibility and sustainability, Target, in the blog post. "Whether it’s delivering programs like our car seat trade-in events, offering electric vehicle charging stations at 200-plus stores, or evolving our owned brands to include more sustainable solutions, together, our collective actions are driving down emissions and sustaining our business for years to come."

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