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Target Takes on Net-Zero Energy at Retrofitted California Store

Vista test location is retailer's most sustainable to date
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Target is testing its first net-zero energy store in California, which has been retrofitted with 3,420 rooftop solar panels.
Target is testing its first net-zero energy store in California, which has been retrofitted with 3,420 rooftop solar panels.

Target Corp. has unveiled a retrofit to a store in Vista, Calif., that makes it the company’s most sustainable location to date. The net-zero energy store is poised to generate up to 10% more energy annually than it needs to operate and furthers the retailer’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

Target is reducing emissions and creating renewable energy at the site using 3,420 rooftop solar panels, carport canopies, carbon dioxide refrigeration and other new features. Plans are in the works to scale the use of carbon dioxide refrigeration chainwide by 2040, which will help reduce operating emissions by 20%. 

The company has applied for net-zero energy certification from the International Living Future Institute and plans to put the extra energy it generates back into the local power grid. The site will be used as a blueprint for future store retrofits and new locations.

“We’ve been working for years at Target to shift toward sourcing more renewable energy and further reducing our carbon footprint, and our Vista store’s retrofit is the next step in our sustainability journey and a glimpse of the future we’re working toward,” said John Conlin, Target’s SVP of properties. “Our new stores and remodel programs are designed to help achieve our sustainability goals as we test, learn and scale our innovations over time across our operations.”

In addition, Target plans to reach its Target Forward sustainability strategy goals by sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and the company reports that it has already lowered direct operations emissions by about 27%. The use of offsite solar and wind energy, LED lighting, and recycling, composting and donation programs are further contributing to its progress.

“We commend the Target team for their leadership and commitment to sustainable operations as the retailer continues to raise the bar for how companies can invest in their business and create a more sustainable future,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association

The company’s ambitious energy-saving goals were recently complemented by a sustainability initiative that utilizes the Target Zero icon to help consumers identify products and packaging designed to be refillable, reusable or compostable; made from recycled content; or made from materials that reduce the use of plastic.

Target Zero will be a key driver of progress for Target Forward goals, including Target’s aim to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences by 2030.

“It’s incredibly complex to get to zero waste,” noted Erica Shea, senior buyer and sustainability lead for beauty at Target. “Our goal with Target Zero is to not only make it easier for guests to find reduced-waste products that fit into their lifestyles, but also to co-create alongside our national-brand partners and owned-brands suppliers so we can unlock solutions to some of the historical hurdles for sustainability in the beauty, personal care and household essentials spaces and beyond."

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, with nearly 2,000 locations.

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