Measuring the Success of CSR Goals: Behind the Bullseye at Target
By Aman Singh, CSRwire
- Increase sustainable seafood selection
- Improve owned-brand packaging sustainability
- Increase diabetes HbA1c testing compliance
- Increase reading proficiency
Now, Target’s 2011 CSR Report offers pages of graphs measuring the Minneapolis-based retailer’s progress against these goals. While the graphs look promising and underscore the challenges of operating in a competitive market with multiple layers of stakeholders, I wanted to understand the context behind these goals and what the execution would look like.
I sat down with Tim Baer, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary with Target, for a conversation about the goals and how his team plans to demystify complicated supply chains and motivate its employees and customers toward healthy and sustainable choices.
Aman Singh: While the PDF of goals and progress gave me a sense of exactly that, i.e., progress, it didn’t give me a sense of Target’s mission/values. Can you elaborate?
Tim Baer: At Target, we’re committed to positively impacting the lives of our guests and team members. Since 1946, our legacy of giving and service has been reflected in a commitment that today totals more than $3 million a week to our communities. And at the end of the day, by continuing to serve our team members and communities, we ensure our future success. As a result of our giving model, we benefit from being a workplace and shopping destination of choice for our team members and guests. Not only do our guests value our commitment to communities and giving, but our team members do as well.
To bring our vision of strong, healthy and safe communities to life — which we can’t do alone — we work with community, business and civic partners who inform and share in our approach. We know we can make a meaningful impact, so we set goals to guide our work in three focus areas — helping to put more U.S. children on the path to graduation, reducing our impact on the environment and helping Target team members live healthy, balanced lives.
AS: Why is education such a big goal for Target?
TB: Education, specifically K-3 literacy, is important to Target for three primary reasons. First, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. And, we’re compelled to do our part to address the education challenge in America, putting more kids on the path to high school graduation.
Second, based on guest surveys, we know that our guests care about education more than any other social issue, and we’re committed to giving to communities in a way that positively impacts our guests and their families.
Third, we know that reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a significant milestone on the path to graduation. This is the time when a child transitions from learning to read, to reading to learn. A child who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade is four times more likely to drop out of high school when compared with a child who can.
Ultimately, education is critically important to the success of our children and our economy. By supporting education, we are investing in developing an educated workforce that is prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s challenging work environment. At Target, our team is our competitive advantage, and preparing future team members with a quality education today makes good business sense.
AS: Your data shows that you were not able to achieve your water reduction goals?
Catch the rest of our interview on CSRwire Talkback.