Retail giant Target enters the Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard at a disappointing ‘D’. The company’s supply chain emissions target of a 30% reduction by 2030 is too little to keep warming below 1.5°C. Although it has set a limited supply chain clean energy target of 50% of “strategic and partner owned operations” by 2025, the goal needs to be extended to all Tier 1 and 2 suppliers to have an impact. Target reports some limited engagement with suppliers on renewable energy, but provides limited information. It does not appear to offer suppliers financial support. Target performed particularly poorly in the low-carbon materials and circularity section, where its plan to design products for “a circular future by 2040” is lacking ambition. Shipping is a priority area for retailers to address: although Target has committed to Zero Emissions Vessels by 2040, this is too distant. Additionally, it has not reported significant efforts to avoid aviation and ship via cleaner methods in the meantime, resulting in its transportation emissions continuing to grow. Unlike Amazon, Target has not committed to zero emission vehicles for its last-mile delivery. Target should prioritise promoting renewable energy throughout its supply chain, and bring forward its Zero Emissions shipping target to 2030.
Key Findings for Target
Target has set an emissions reduction target for its own operations of 50% by 2030, and an emissions reduction target for its supply chain of 30% by 2030. This target is not in line with the 55% reduction required to keep warming below 1.5°C.
Target has set a renewable energy target in its own operations of 100% by 2030, most of which will be additional to the grid.
Target has yet to set a target of 100% renewable energy for its supply chain by 2030, which is an essential step for decarbonising its manufacturing, although it has set a limited goal to have “at least 50% of the energy used in strategic and joint business partner owned operations come from renewables” by 2025.
Coal phase out:
As a signatory of the renewed UN Fashion Charter, Target has committed to phasing out coal-fired boilers from its supply chain by 2030 to reduce air pollution and cut emissions.
Target publicly reports GHG emissions in its own operations, and in its supply chain. The company does provide a full breakdown of its Scope 3 emissions.
Target publicly reports its energy use for its own operations, including a breakdown of its renewable energy use and how that energy is sourced.
For its supply chain, Target does not publicly report its energy use, or a breakdown of its suppliers’ renewable energy use and how that energy is sourced.
Target provides a partial supplier list to Tier 1 or 2
Target provides its suppliers with training and resources to help them make energy efficiency improvements, including IFC programs across Cambodia, China, India and Pakistan. Target does not report providing its major suppliers with financial incentives for energy efficiency measures, and does not require them to make energy savings as a condition of contract.
Target does not require suppliers to reduce thermal coal demand in their manufacturing processes.
Target does report providing its suppliers with training and resources to help them transition to renewable energy, but the details are not clear. The company does not report providing financial support or incentives to make the energy transition and does not require suppliers to use renewable energy as a condition of contract.
Target works with its suppliers to set GHG emissions reduction targets, and has committed that 80% of its suppliers (by spend) will have set science-based targets by 2023. Target requires its suppliers to provide facility level data via the Higg Index and annually report GHG emissions.
Target has not made any commitments to phase out fossil fuel based materials.
Target has not made a public policy to ban the sourcing of leather from the Amazon Biome or taken measurable steps to ensure that Amazon leather is not contributing to deforestation, and the company does not have processes in place to avoid leather sourced from deforested regions. Target does have a general policy against contributing to deforestation through other materials including cellulose-based fabrics.
Target has not committed to increase closed-loop apparel-to-apparel recycling for synthetics and plant-based materials. Target has committed to switch to “more sustainable” sources of raw materials, but has not specifically committed to sourcing organic cotton or cotton sourced from regenerative agriculture by 2030.
Target is taking some actions to increase circularity and address overproduction, including planning for 100% of its own-brand products to be designed for a circular future by 2040 and introducing denim jeans built on a closed-loop model, but the target is too distant. Target reports training its staff in circular design principles, but needs to do more to close the loop and ultimately reduce production through dedicated take back and textile recycling programs as well as designing for durability and repair.
Target does not publicly report its material mix, its volume of deadstock or how it manages or disposes of its deadstock to reduce waste.
Target does report its shipping emissions annually, but does not provide a breakdown of its transportation methods, and does not have a target to reduce GHG emissions from transportation.
Target does not have a policy to avoid aviation and commit to slower shipping methods such as maritime, rail and land. The company does not report having a near-term plan to ship its cargo via cleaner methods, but does report working with carriers, vendors and other partners to help put more efficient processes in place. It reported a 7.4% increase in its upstream transportation and distribution emissions between 2019 and 2021.
Target has committed to transitioning to zero emissions vessels (ZEV) by the later than target date of 2040. The company has not publicly used its voice to advocate for Zero Emission Shipping.
Target has yet to commit to transitioning its last mile delivery to zero emission vehicles, but has set a goal of increasing fleet electrification.
It is not discernible that Target has engaged in any advocacy to promote renewable energy during the Scorecard period.
More About Target
EngagementTarget did not respond to requests
- “2022 Target Environmental, Social and Governance Report,” 2022. https://corporate.target.com/_media/TargetCorp/Sustainability-ESG/PDF/2022_Target_ESG_Report.pdf.
- “Climate & Energy,”, https://corporate.target.com/sustainability-ESG/environment/climate-and-energy.
- “Responsible Resource Use,”, https://corporate.target.com/sustainability-ESG/environment/responsible-resource-use.
- “Target CDP,” 2020.
- “Target CDP,” 2021.
- “Target CDP,” 2022.
- “Target Forward | Our Sustainability Strategy,”, https://corporate.target.com/sustainability-esg/strategy-target-forward#goals.
- “Target, REI Join Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels Initiative,” September 23, 2022. https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/logistics/target-rei-join-cargo-owners-zero-emission-vessels-initiative-aspen-institute-374982/.