Sustainability is a key target for an increasing number of businesses these days, but one by the same name is leading the way.

Target has made sustainability a priority and a principle that drives its decision making. It’s an unprecedented step for a business of Target’s scale and scope to allow green initiatives to direct the company’s partnerships and processes but, then again, it’s a perfect sign of just how vital green commitment has become to the business’ health and customer base.

Consider just a few ways Target is practicing what it preaches when it comes to sustainable practices:

  • The company introduced its  “Target Sustainable Product Standard” to help the company meet customer demand for responsibly-sourced and health-conscious food offerings
  • Target relies on the Higg Index to vet vendors and partners basedon their water and electricity usage
  • The retailer is seeking LEED certification for all its Canadian stores

By looking at its entire value chain, and incorporating green practices wherever possible, Target is setting the stage for corporations around the world to do the same. It’s also notable that green thinking permeates all aspects of the business. The company is focused on everything from educating its customers on reducing waste and reusing products, to designing products with sustainability in mind, to minimizing its carbon footprint during the production and shipping processes.

Target’s 2013 sustainability report shows that many of its initiatives are taking hold and helping not just the company’s own fiscal well-being but also the lives of their customers, employees and communities. That includes clear labor and human rights policies, extending the benefits to sustainable ethics, and demonstrating that profits and people can coexist and thrive in the business ecosystem.

It will be interesting to watch how the company’s efforts push competitors and other industry leaders to do the same. And there is no telling how far the impact could extend. For example, if Target can continue to prove that profits follow sustainable implementation, it’s likely those practices will trickle down. For more information on the impact of such sustainability initiatives, view our 2013 Sustainability Report today.