Big Box Stores Go Green

Walmart and Target are embracing solar energy and other environmentally friendly practices.

October 08, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS—Target and Walmart are just two of the big box stores that are expanding into solar energy and other eco-friendly business practices, the New York Times reports. Target will add rooftop solar panels to 500 of its U.S. locations by November. “We view this as one of the most important things we can do,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president of properties at Target. “The headline we are focused on is this: What’s most important to Target’s guests?”

Sustainability has become more than a buzzword lately, with companies and consumers both expressing a desire for more green practices, which cost much less these days. For instance, solar power is nearly 90% less expensive than it was a decade ago, and wind power is around 70% cheaper, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“Every aspect of retailing’s machine is going to be modernized and ultimately energized green,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Retailers will chase greenness to be viewed as part of their DNA.”

For Target and Walmart, becoming green resonates with customers. Walmart’s long-term goal is using 100% renewable energy. “We know this is on the minds of our customers,” said Laura Phillips, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. Within six years, Walmart wants to power half of its operations with renewable energy via on-site installations and external power sources. Walmart has been dabbling in renewable energy projects worldwide for a while now, ranging from India to China.