In the recent past, the concept of sustainable development in non-governmental institutions, corporations, and public organizations has become a major issue due to the many challenges that affect organizations. In today’s dynamic world, sustainability requires organizational leaders to balance between environment and systems. In the face of globalization and climate change, sustainability requires firms to be adaptive while interacting with the environment. The paper discusses the concept of sustainable development in Target Brands Inc. After a brief description of the company, the essay focuses on the organization’s sustainability framework.
Background of the Corporation
Since its inception in 1902, Target has emerged as one of the largest retail stores in the United States and beyond. The company offers a spectrum of consumer goods and services that have transformed it into a global leader. According to Target Corporate Social Responsibility Report (2015), the organization is ranked second in the US, trailing Wal-Mart. The exceptional growth of the retailer could be attributed to its dedication to providing excellent services to its clients. During its early years, the organization faced criticisms from the public due to its high prices on products. This prompted the retail giant to lower its prices in order to survive in the market. The organization’s mission, “Expect more and pay less,” is based on the concept that clients expect value at a relatively low price. Target is renowned for its reasonable prices, especially in the wake of a global financial crisis that has taken a major toll on consumers (“Expect more. Payless,” 2016). Today, the retailer has opened more than 1,800 stores across the US and Canada. During its expansion in the 1970s, Target embarked on various outreach programs that aimed at enhancing the lives of communities. Unlike other retailers, Target believed in the ideal of livable neighborhoods, and this enabled the company to gain a competitive edge over its rivals.
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Why Target Corporation?
The concept of sustainability for community practice and policy has gained momentum in recent years. Organizations are required to meet the needs of communities without damaging the natural environment (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs [UNDESA], 2015). Target does not exist in isolation, and therefore, its operations affect the lives of communities. Evidently, the corporation releases some amount of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, thus, causing climate change. In addition, the organization attracts thousands of workers from all parts of the world, so, causes urbanization. The organization pays taxes, and also, improves the welfare of its employees, and hence, enhances economic growth. These are some of the reasons why Target was chosen for this discussion.
Target Corporation’s Sustainability
Based on Target Corporate Social Responsibility Report (2015), the company focuses on four key areas, including efficient operations, smart development, sustainable living, and sustainable products.
Sustainability requires organizations to offer schools, hospitals, shops, and clean environment to the local communities (Elg, Ellstrom, Klofsten & Tillman, 2015). In the wake of climate change, Target has indeed impacted on the local communities since it opened its store in 1962. For instance, the corporation invested heavily in recycling programs throughout the US and Canada. The first recycling program was initiated in the 1970s, and the company has since integrated sustainable business practices into its operations. Today, Target Corporation aims at improving the health of the local communities through sustainable utilization of resources. The company has sponsored its welfare that enhances sustainability, including the SB Innovation event in 2014. Despite the numerous challenges that the company faces in its sustainable living obligations, the retailer aims at making a difference in social, economic, and ecological areas. For instance, Target encourages its customers to recycle plastic bags and tins in order to avoid negative impacts on the environment (“Target Corporate Social Responsibility Report,” 2015).
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Moreover, the company has initiated a composting program to encourage staff members and other key stakeholders to recycle plastic bags every time they use it. In addition, the company has invented several designs of reusable bags. The company offers its clients a 5% discount for every reusable bag they purchase and this has increased the use of reusable bags in various Target stores. By 2015, more than 300 million reusable bags have been used, and this helped to avoid the use of plastic bags that effects the environment. In Minneapolis, the company has continued to train its staff members on recycling and compositing. Apart from that, Target holds its annual sustainability meeting which brings together all the key stakeholders who share views on sustainability (Target Australia, 2014).
The corporation also strives to balance products’ prices, performance and convenience through sustainable production and packaging (“Target Corporate Social Responsibility Report,” 2015). In this regard, the company has partnered with nonprofit organizations to protect and secure the marine resources for future generations. In 2015, Target partnered with FishWise to ensure that the seafood is sustainable and traceable. Therefore, Target ensures that sea resources are extracted and improved in an environmentally responsive manner. Besides, the firm is aware that consumers are not only interested in product packaging, but also, in the quality of the products. Thus, it produces and sells only those products that do not harm the environment. The company adopts the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability, commonly known as (GPPS), to achieve its product packaging sustainability goals. GPPS was created by renowned retailers and manufacturers in the US to reduce the overall packaging material and product waste. Target was involved in the creation of GPPS. Currently, the organization is considering changing the packaging of its plastic hangers. This will play a critical role in reducing the materials used in packaging by 260 tons. However, achieving such milestones is quite challenging and requires teamwork. Target’s senior leadership team works closely with suppliers to enhance the quality of its packaging. Through openness and innovation, Target is able to identify areas that require change (Target Australia, 2014).
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Although corporations exist to make profits and enhance shareholder’s wealth, the concept of sustainability also requires that businesses consider their employees’ welfare and wellbeing (Byrch, Kearins, Milne & Morgan, 2009). To serve its clients effectively, Target has employed more than 342,000 employees who work in various stores around the world (“Target Corporate Social Responsibility Report,” 2015). Going forward, the corporation aims at employing more staff members in order to enhance its service delivery. The management believes in employees’ empowerment, that is, smart development. According to Target, motivated workforce helps the company to achieve its sustainability efforts. Towards this end, the organization recognizes its workers as ‘team members’ because it holds the view that working together is more beneficial than working individually. To motivate its team members, Target provides them with several health programs, including free flu vaccination, free cigarette cessation program, and free nurse consultation services among others. Team members at the corporation earn points by participating in different sustainability initiatives. Thus, the more sustainability activities that a team member engages in, the more points he or she earns. The company also provides its team members with financial assistance to carry out their duties enthusiastically and effectively. The company believes that different people have diverse needs, and therefore, provides them with financial resources to enhance their economic well-being. Moreover, the company offers financial education to its members, and this enables them to make responsible decisions. To achieve this objective, the company hires financial advisors to advise members on financial health. The company also believes in diversity and inclusivity as a way of enhancing the corporate image. By combining its unique talents, Target is able to serve its clients and communities effectively. Thus, the company hires experienced as well as non-experienced people to enhance the attainment of goals. Target also encourages team members to engage in various voluntary services. Thus, thousands of well-wishers across the US are willing to be associated with Target due to its community projects that focus on disaster preparedness, literacy, and awareness of the risks or challenges.
In the scope of globalization, poorer countries throughout the world are depending on developed nations, including the US and Canada. Globalization is posing to be a major challenge, especially, for poorer countries due to resources constraint. Multinationals like Target are setting up operations in foreign nations with a view of gaining a larger market share. Since they have strong brands compared to the local ones, they pose several disadvantages to the key local industries. Therefore, the local communities are disadvantaged by the presence of multinationals. On its part, Target recognizes the needs of its communities spread throughout the world. The organization believes that its worldwide presence affects the lives of thousands of customers and other stakeholders. As a result, the organization is involved in several community projects, such as helping vendors to source sustainable materials and partnering with nongovernmental organizations to provide resources to communities. Currently, the organization has partnered with GoodWeave to advocate for abolishing of child abuse in major parts of India (“Together Effect,” 2014).
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The sustainability aspect has become a major challenge for both small and large organizations. In today’s business world, organizations throughout the world are aiming at enhancing sustainability in order to gain a competitive advantage. Research demonstrates that organizations that have initiated sustainability are able to win the hearts of their clients (UNDESA, 2015). In pursuit of its profit and wealth maximization goals, Target affects the lives of many people throughout the world. In order to exist, the analyzed corporation must embark on the projects that add value to the local communities.
Target focuses on four main sustainability areas, including sustainable living, efficient operations, smart development, and sustainable products. Target believes that it can make a difference through its sustainable development initiatives. The retail giant has strengthened local communities in various parts of the world by helping children learn and increasing volunteer hours. It has also catered for the needs of its members through promoting their health and financial wellbeing. With regard to the environment, Target has reduced greenhouse emissions and also water wastage. The organization has also improved sustainable seafood traceability and selection. From the above discussion, it is evident that Target’s key stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees, and the local community expect much from the organization. Therefore, Target needs to delight stakeholders while still achieving its key goals of profit maximization and shareholders’ wealth maximization. However, to achieve its sustainability goals, the company should work hand in hand with the communities.