US department store retailer Target Corp says it has surpassed almost half of the 20 sustainability goals the company set itself five years ago, including using more than 14.5m recycled plastic bottles to produce fabric for its own-brand jeans.

In the company's latest Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Target says its five core beliefs – innovation, leadership, growth, inclusivity, and community – have shaped its ongoing commitment to social responsibility.

Five years ago Target established public goals to address a number of issues including its owned-brand packaging sustainability, reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions (per retail sales), reduce water use and improve transportation efficiencies both inbound and outbound.

"As we look to the future, you'll continue to see Target working hand in hand with partners to ensure our environmental footprint is sustainable from the entire lifecycle of the products we create and sell to the way we operate our business," says Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO. "While we're celebrating successes and examining where we fell short, we are also working on the next chapter by creating a new set of aspirational goals and milestones that will guide our efforts into the future."

The company says it has exceeded its goal to enhance at least 50 of its owned-brand packaging designs to be more sustainable by more than 100, improving the design of 153 Target owned-brand packages over the period.

It has also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 11.5% per square foot, reduced its water use by 17.1% per square foot, and expanded its smart irrigation technology to an additional 601 locations. And in terms of general merchandise transportation efficiencies, Target has improved inbound logistics by 36% and outbound by 26%.

Meanwhile, the company is yet to reduce its gas emissions per retail sales, achieving a 16.7% reduction as opposed to the target of 20%.

Now, Target says it is working toward its "next chapter" with a new set of goals and milestones which align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a universal agenda to address sustainable development globally.

"As we look to the future, you'll continue to see Target working hand in hand with partners to ensure our environmental footprint is sustainable from the entire lifecycle of the products we create and sell to the way we operate our business," adds Cornell.

Earlier this month Target announced the launch of its latest children's offering, which is expected to generate more than US$1bn in sales in its first fiscal year alone. Cat & Jack, which includes clothing for both children and babies, is Target's largest ever private label apparel brand and features garments in keeping with the retailer's sustainability efforts. 

Target aims for US$1bn in sales from new kids' line