- With consumers prioritizing environmental sustainability, Amazon and Target unveiled stores that aim to use less energy than they produce, the retailers announced last week. Target's first net zero energy store is located in Vista, California, and the new Amazon Fresh store, which is pursuing net zero carbon certification, is located in Seattle.
- The new Amazon Fresh Seattle location features a CO2-based refrigeration system, steel byproducts to reduce embodied carbon and electricity sourced from the company's renewable energy projects. Target's store has solar carports, an electric HVAC system, CO2 refrigeration and LED lighting.
- Drawing from its experience, Target said it plans to add CO2 refrigeration to all of its stores by 2040. Amazon said that some of the upgrades will be used at all of its Amazon Fresh grocery stores going forward, such as the lower-carbon concrete flooring.
Target's Vista store will serve as a testing site for innovations that will inform future store design. "This store is truly a test kitchen for some of the features that can help us as we work toward our larger goal of 100% renewable electricity," Rachel Swanson, lead solar program manager at Target, said in a statement.
Target has also engaged with other environmental goals. For instance, the company committed to making all of its private label products "designed for a circular future" by 2040. To do so, the retailer said it plans to use more recyclable, durable and sustainably-sourced materials. Earlier this month, the retailer said it would display its Target Zero logo on various personal care, beauty and household items that are designed to be refillable, reusable or compostable, made from recycled materials or from materials that reduce the need for plastic. Outside of this concept, Target also installed LED lights across its store fleet, added electric vehicle charging stations to more than 150 locations, and is introducing recycling and composting programs.
Meanwhile, Amazon will use an internal system created by Amazon Web Services' Professional Services Sustainability Practice to track its Seattle store's environmental impact. The company also said that customers will be able to shop from a variety of environmentally-friendly products ranging from household cleaning and beauty products to plant-based food brands.
At the Seattle location, Amazon Fresh is seeking Zero Carbon certification from the International Living Future Institute, a nonprofit that advances sustainable building practices. In order to obtain certification, a building must be energy efficient, have all electricity provided by renewable energy, demonstrate a reduction in the embodied carbon of building materials, and prove that all carbon emissions associated with manufacturing and construction processes have been neutralized. The nonprofit then reviews 12 consecutive months of performance data to establish that a store meets these standards.
"We know many customers are prioritizing sustainability in what products they buy and where they choose to shop," Stephenie Landry, vice president of Amazon Grocery, said in a statement. "With our newest Amazon Fresh store, we are taking the next step on our path to becoming a net-zero carbon business by 2040, and we welcome customers to experience this firsthand while shopping with us in this store."
Clarification: This story has been updated to better reflect when Target installed LED lights and vehicle charging stations.