Target joins companies across country pledging action on climate change

Downtown-based Target Corp. has committed to a White House initiative focused on fighting climate change.

The retailer is among 81 companies across the country that has signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Other Minnesota companies that have taken the pledge include Best Buy, General Mills and Cargill.

Target unveiled several new sustainability commitments Monday as part of the White House climate pledge, including adding solar rooftop panels to 500 stores and distribution centers, achieving Energy Star certification in 80 percent of its buildings and diverting 70 percent of its retail waste from landfills through recycling programs by 2020.

The corporation has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent since 2010, according to a statement on its website.

By signing the White House pledge, the companies have agreed to voice support for a strong universal climate agreement at the upcoming Paris climate negotiations and take steps to reduce carbon emissions and increase reliance on green energy.

All told, the companies have operations in all 50 states, employ more than 9 million people and have more than $3 trillion in annual revenue, according to a White House fact sheet.

In a roundtable with business leaders, President Barack Obama said business leaders are realizing that investments in clean energy can “enhance their bottom lines.”

“Thanks in part to the investments we’ve made, there are already parts of America where clean power is actually not only competitive but, in some cases, cheaper than traditional sources of energy,” Obama said. “We have seen, for example, companies like Wal-Mart install onsite solar capacity more actively than just about any other company. We’ve seen Google become the largest corporate purchase of renewable energy in the world, with companies like Apple and Costco close behind.”

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At a glance: Target’s new climate pledge commitments for 2020

—   Achieve Energy Star certification in 80 percent of buildings

—   Reduce energy intensity-per-square-foot in stores by 10 percent

—   Add solar rooftop panels to 500 stores and distribution centers

—   Expand investment in offsite renewable energy

—   Introduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-free refrigerants in food distribution centers and standalone refrigerated display cases

—   Reduce water use by 10 percent per square foot in stores

—   Divert 70 percent of retail waste from landfills through recycling and reuse programs

—   Engage additional vendors and product categories in work with the Natural Resources Defense Council Clean by Design program