How Target Invests In Sustainability

180px-Illinois_Target_StoreTarget Corporation, one of the largest general merchandise store chains in the U.S., focused on making its stores more energy efficient in 1989 when it began using an energy management system (EMS) to conserve energy. The system at the company’s headquarters allows for company-wide energy policies to be implemented.

In the early 1990s, Target began selling used cardboard to recyclers. The majority of its stores now return their cardboard to distribution centers on the same trailers that deliver merchandise to stores. Target stores recycle electronics, both product returns and company equipment. Target stores also repair and refurbish damaged shopping carts. When the carts are not fit to be used anymore, the plastic and metal is recycled. As of 2007, 983 million pounds of cardboard and 47,000 broken carts were recycled.

Target stores have a garment hanger reuse program. Each hanger in a Target store gets reused an average of four times. When a hanger breaks, the plastic and metal are recycled. A total of 411 million hangers are reused each year.

Brownfields are environmentally impaired properties, which include Superfund sites. In 2005, over one-third of Target’s new stores were Brownfield redevelopment sites or redeveloped buildings.

Target has a Developer’s Guide which specifies the materials used in its buildings, including recycled and reground materials, such as steel bar joists made from old cars. The prototype design includes using low VOC carpets, adhesives, sealants, and paints. Locally manufactured construction materials are used when feasible.

Target’s use of renewable energy

In 2007, Target began installing solar energy at some of its stores. In California, 18 of its stores have on-site solar systems which provide 20 percent of the energy needs. To date, Target has on-site solar energy at 21 of its California stores.

Installing solar power systems is a cost-saving investment, as Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Los Gatos, California-based Akeena Solar pointed out. “It’s cheaper over the long term to put a solar-power system on your roof and generate your own electricity than it is to rent it forever from a utility.”

The first three Target stores in Hawaii had 143 kilowatt hour solar power systems installed by DRI Energy. DRI Energy is a subsidiary of DRI companies, a 30 year old construction firm specializing in roofing and renewable energy installations.

“DRI has the infrastructure, scale, and reach to assist national chains like Target in realizing their renewable energy goals,” said Tim Davey, founder and CEO of DRI Companies. “We look forward to our continued relationship with Target for their roofing needs, as well as in reducing their carbon footprint by turning to solar energy generation.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

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