Nowadays, Target is rightfully considered one of the largest and most profitable retail corporations in the world. Although the first Target store opened in 1962, the predecessors of this venture came long before (Cain, 2020). George Dayton founded the Dayton Company in 1903 (Cain, 2020). The department store flourished in the 1920s, and then endured the Great Depression emerging only slightly scathed. Dayton’s grandsons decided to rebrand the retail chain into Target Corporation. As of 2021, Target is considered one of the most valuable brands, which generates billions of dollars of profit. The purpose of this essay is to explore the basis for Target’s operations, including its core values and ethics, social responsibility commitments, as well as political and stakeholder engagement. In addition, the paper is going to examine the impact COVID-19 has had on the store and its response to the pandemic.
In terms of social responsibility efforts at Target, they are large in scale and global in scope. The corporation’s four primary vectors of focus include its employees, guests, communities, and the future (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). When it comes to Target teams, they are continuously empowered to grow professionally by providing them with new opportunities and challenges, and supporting each employee on their career journey. Target is dedicated to delivering the best benefits to their staff as well as their families. In July 2019, Target raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). Customer experience is exceptionally important to the company, which means that guests are treated with the utmost respect and care. Target believes that every person has something to contribute, which is why it proclaims its commitment to serving communities by providing them with welcoming spaces and using the power of Target’s brand to bring communities together. In terms of the store’s focus on the impact of its activities on the future, Target is dedicated to making smart and sustainable decisions to take proper care of the planet. This entails “not only reducing [the] footprint, but going beyond to restore and improve the places where we operate for future generations” (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). In order to create efficient solutions, the corporation partners and collaborated with the world’s leading experts and institutions.
Target is committed to ensuring their voice is heard in regards to the most pressing current issues, which is why it takes active part in the lobbying and legislative processes. First, the corporation works closely with various political agencies to help the industry as a whole and the communities it serves. After all, all of the decisions made by legislative bodies affect Target guests directly, which is why Target emphasizes its support for candidates who share the values, ethics, and vision of the brand. Moreover, the enterprise makes sure it can assist the government by sharing the knowledge it has amassed over the decades in terms of export, import, and other activities (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). In addition, Target is a member of such organizations as the Democratic and Republican governors associations and legislative campaign committees, “which allows [the] team members to attend conferences and other events to learn about those elected officials’ policy priorities and initiatives and to share a retail perspective” (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). Despite that, Target’s allocated funds for political engagement are not utilized for making contributions to campaigns, but rather to create educational opportunities for communities and to support association management efforts.
Diversity and Inclusion
Target functions following an overall purpose of including all the members of society for each and every person to feel welcome whether they are a customer, an employee, or a partner. Apart from ensuring the company creates an inclusive environment to shop and work at, it uses its power and influence to contribute to positive change regarding diversity directly. Target is committed to increasing people of color (POC) representation and advancing this group. The company is also dedicated to ensuring equal representation of women, including the positions of senior leadership (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). The corporation reports that it has increased “representation for people of color in exempt roles by 15% and women of color in similar positions by 23 %” (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). Another aspect of the enterprise’s diversity and inclusion efforts is the commitment to increase media impressions among POC through the implementation of relevant marketing strategies.
Climate Change and Sustainability
As for Target’s response to climate change and its commitment to sustainability initiatives, the store is one of the global leaders in that regard. Since the opening of the First Target in 1962, the company has been dedicated to ensuring its operations were sustainable (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). The corporation announced a new climate policy and sustainability objectives in 2017, which were approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative, an agency tasked with developing the guidelines for U.S. companies to help them align their corporate goals with the factual framework of climate change (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). Through collaborations with partners and experts, as well as independent efforts, Target reduces its greenhouse gas footprint, maximizes the utilization of renewable energy sources, and explores new opportunities for increasing energy efficiency. The corporation’s focus is on five key areas, which include renewable energy adoption, energy efficiency maximization, investments in a lower-carbon logistics framework, mitigation of raw materials sourcing activities, and support of those communities, which have been the most affected by climate shifts. Target is a corporation committed to implementing sustainable practices through the entirety of the supply chain operations.
Values and Ethics
In regards to values and ethics, Target is a global enterprise, which ensures it gives people, communities, and the environment the best. It values its guests, teams, brand, and partners, which allows it to develop and maintains a strong and resilient corporate culture. Target’s core values are “great shopping, celebrating diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and ethics at work” (Mission Statement Academy, 2019). Although it is important for the corporation to advance its grand vision, it makes sure that their employees and guests have fun.
Target expresses its commitment to operating ethically and fully complying with the appropriate laws. Thus, each team member at Target is obligated to follow the legal regulations, Target policies, as well as the enterprise’s Code of Ethics (Target Brands, Inc., n.d.). Moreover, each worker is encouraged to report any factual or suspected violations of the aforementioned documents. Specifically, the company’s Code of Ethics provides employees with a set of obligations, expectations, and frameworks for ethical decision-making (Target Brands, Inc., n.d.). Apart from simply commuting to following the corporation’s procedural regulations and various policies, each worker should exhibit honesty and integrity in every interaction either with a colleague or a customer.
In terms of Target’s engagement with its primary stakeholders, all the interactions are driven by a materiality process across the entirety of the store’s value chain. Since the corporation committed even more to social and environmental initiatives in the recent years, it had to build up string collaboration networks with all the stakeholders as a part of an ongoing engagement framework. In order to ensure systemic shifts in regards to sustainability and diversity, Target commits to making business decisions based on the variety of perspectives from the stakeholders. The corporation’s web-site goes into detail regarding the specific methods of engagement with the main stakeholders. The corporation engages with civil society organizations through community discussions and partnerships, philanthropy, volunteerism, consultations, as well as a variety of conferences and expert panels (Target Brands, Inc., 2020). It serves guests through face-to-face communication, the web-site, newsletters, questionnaires, a loyalty program, and the utilization of focus groups.
As for legislative agencies and political leaders, the main methods include letters of written and verbal testimony, memberships in policy-centered associations, and regular meetings. In terms of engagement with investors, Target uses community and shareholder meetings, quarterly and annual events, as well as certain scheduled calls. Another group is employees, which are engaged with via surveys, training, focus groups, quarterly sessions, as well as various committees. Lastly, Target communicates with vendors through annual meetings, assessments, and workshops.
The Impact of and Response to Economic Turbulence
Target has managed to gain experience from the previous economic turbulence in order to mitigate the risks and respond efficiently to the crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the recession of 2007-2008, the store’s operating profit, net income, and credit income reduced all the way through the 2010 fiscal year (Strong, 2017). The corporation’s efforts to recover from the impact of the financial crisis included the adoption of “A Fresh Approach Strategy,” making alterations to the REDCards Rewards Programs, as well as Canadian expansion (Strong, 2017). Strong (2017) notes that the sales rose to $65.8 billion and the corporation’s net income of almost $3 billion was record high. Thus, it is evident that the aforementioned efforts have been rather successful and demonstrated the company’s resilience and efficiency.
The Impact of and Response to the Pandemic
The global pandemic was truly an unpredictable event, which caused the financial struggles and closures of many businesses. Unfortunately, the majority of companies do not have the capabilities or resources to quickly adapt to changes in order to respond to an emergency efficiently. Target, on the other hand, has the appropriate infrastructure and assets to emerge from the pandemic not only unscathed, but with higher profits. In terms of the impact of the pandemic, the primary negative effect is the unexpected week-to-week changes in the market and the behavior of consumers (daSilva, 2020). Despite that, with the quarantine measures implemented in all the 50 states, Target stores were rushed by customers, particularly in an effort to purchase as many household and pandemic essentials as possible.
Barro (2020) reports that the general merchandise stores such as Target have experienced a substantial increase in profits during the pandemic as compared to the previous years. For instance, Target’s sales “rose 24 percents in the quarter that ended August 1, compared to the American quarter a year earlier” (Barro, 2020). Apart from an overall increase in store visits and the amount of items purchased and re-purchased, the growth in pickup purchases contributed to Target saving money on labor costs as all the shoppers had to pick up the orders at the same time.
In regards to Target’s response, the two primary objectives remain to minimize the impact of the pandemic on stakeholders through information campaigns and financial benefits, as well as to optimize supply chain and infrastructure to help accommodate a large number of shoppers during the pandemic. Target has invested in building up its capabilities in regards to online shopping and delivery (Barro, 2020). It added a number of drive-through lanes and in-store pickup centers (daSilva, 2020). In addition, the store raised the wages of frontline employees and committed to issuing monthly bonuses. The safety of the workers and customers was prioritized through the creation of information campaigns targeted at sharing the facts about COVID-19 and the means of protecting oneself from the virus.
In conclusion, Target remains one of the world’s largest retail corporations. The company has managed to develop an extensive framework for initiating social responsibility projects, including diversity programs, sustainability collaborations, and political partnerships. The enterprise’s values and Code of Ethics reflect its commitment to ensuring all the stakeholders have the best experience, while shopping, working, or partnering with the company. The store’s had a previous experience with responding to economic turbulence caused by an economic recession of 2008, which resulted in the corporation’s loss of profits. These lessons allowed Target to emerge unscathed from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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