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Target Sustainability Report: Carbon Intensity Down 5% Over 2007

Retail giant Target decreased its carbon intensity measured on a per square foot basis by 5 percent and measured against sales by 3 percent from 2007 to 2011, putting the company on track to met its 2015 goals of a 10 and 20 percent reduction against those measurements respectively, according to the company’s 2011 corporate sustainability report.

In 2010, the company produced .0112 tons of CO2 equivalent per square foot and 46.75 tons of CO2 equivalent per million dollars of retail sales. The report does not provide figures for carbon intensity after 2007, only a percentage decrease from the baseline for the year of the report.

Target attributes the decrease in carbon intensity to energy efficiency projects in stores. The most significant of these was a floor lighting efficiency rollout, which converted four-bulb overhead fixtures to more efficient two bulb fixtures. Last year Target installed the new fixtures at more than 500 stores, bringing the total number of stores retrofitted to more than 1,100, or 62 percent of all Targets. The program should be complete in 2012, Target says.

Other CO2 reduction measures undertaken include a move toward using alternative refrigerants with lower global-warming potentials, and LEDs in place of fluorescent lighting in open-refrigeration units, according to the report.

This year the retailer plans to upgrade lighting in its store offices and backrooms and install variable-frequency drives on rooftop HVAC units at around 50 stores.

In 2011, 168 Target stores earned the Energy Star certification, meaning that 21 percent of its stores now have the label, up from eight percent in 2010. The retailer says that progress on this metric must be improved if it is to meet its 2015 goal of having 75 percent of its locations Energy Star certified.

Target has struggled with progress in its water use. Since 2007 the company has reduced its water use intensity – measured as gallons per square foot of space – by just 0.3 percent. The company increased its absolute water use over and above the 2007 baseline, but due to an increase in floor space decreased its per square foot usage. The retailer admits that improvement is needed in this metric if it is to reach its goal of reducing water use intensity by 10 percent by 2015, when measured against the 2007 baseline (see chart, below).

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