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Improving Our Energy and Emissions Footprint

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Our strategy around climate and the environment takes a multi-pronged approach, building upon our belief in contributing to a better future for children and our communities. We have set ambitious, quantitative goals as we continue our journey to be a more environmentally sustainable brand.
We have set a near-term, science-based emissions reduction goal, validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. Carter’s also commits to engaging 77% of our suppliers by spend covering purchased goods and services to set science-based emissions reduction targets of their own by 2027.
A key part of achieving our goal is gathering primary GHG data and obtaining third-party, limited assurance for our performance disclosures on Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, water usage, and waste volumes. In 2023, we completed our fifth annual GHG emissions inventory of our business activities, which included primary data collection from our logistics providers and 109 facilities of our top 69 suppliers, accounting for approximately 96% of the total purchase order spend on manufactured goods from our Tier 1 vendors. Based on that inventory, approximately 28% of our Scope 3 GHG emissions in 2022 came from our Tier 1 suppliers and logistics providers.
Total Absolute Emissions
Goals & Progress
Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 from 2019 baseline
28% decrease in absolute GHG emissions and 14% decrease in carbon intensity
Require 77% of our suppliers by spend covering purchased goods and services to have science-based targets by 2027
17% of our covered vendors by spend have set science-based targets
Achieve Net-Zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions in our direct operations by 2040
2030 emissions reduction roadmap developed; we will report 2040 plan in 2024
Divert 80% of waste from landfill by 2025
62% of waste diverted from landfill
Achieve 50% reduction in virgin plastic packaging by 2030
New goal; we will report progress in 2024
Reduce water usage in the manufacturing and washing of our products by 2025
New goal; we will report progress in 2024
GHG Reduction Roadmap
We intend to accomplish our science-based target of a 50% reduction of Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2030 from a 2019 baseline through a combination of measures in our retail stores, distribution centers, and offices, including:
  • Operational changes
  • Technology and energy management investments
  • Renewable energy credit (REC) purchases
We are evaluating pathways to reduce our overall energy usage year-over-year and expect that the purchase of renewable energy credits will be needed to meet the remainder of the goal.
In 2022, our Scope 1 and 2 emissions decreased by 28% and our emissions intensity decreased by 14%, both from 2019.
Historical and Expected Scope 1 and 2 GHG Emissions Through 2030
We believe the recent decrease in emissions is most likely attributed to operationally related factors, such as retail store closures and/or climate differences year-over-year that may have caused varying usages of energy across multiple locations. As we continue to evaluate the underlying drivers of changes in our emissions year-over-year, we expect to provide additional detail in our future CSR reports.
GHG Reduction Measures
Operational Initiatives
Behavioral practices and operational improvements will drive energy efficiency
Implementing standards to the way we work and operate our business can contribute to energy reductions.
Ongoing efforts:
  • We are evaluating changes we can implement to our employee standard operating procedures at our retail stores and distribution centers to drive energy efficiencies, such as keeping doors closed and turning off lighting when not needed
Energy-Related Investments
Upgrades to technology and energy management systems will be needed
We recognize that investments will need to be made to meet our decarbonization goal, particularly in technologies at our stores and distribution centers.
Previous efforts:
  • Achieved LEED Gold and Energy Star certification for our office headquarters
  • Converting from conventional fuel to hydrogen power for forklifts at our largest distribution center
Ongoing efforts:
  • Upgrading to LED lighting in our distribution centers and retail stores
Renewable Energy Credits
We will look to renewable energy credits (RECs) as a complementary measure
While not a primary solution to decarbonizing, we plan to invest in a limited number of third-party verified renewable energy credits to help us meet our goal.
Previous efforts:
  • Evaluated environmental commodity/REC purchasing guidelines
Recent efforts:
  • In April 2023, we purchased 14,000 verified credits to be applied to our 2022 emissions
Reducing Scope 3
We continue to explore ways to reduce our Scope 3 emissions. We believe that as we make progress toward our goal to use 100% sustainable cotton and polyester fibers by 2030, we can reduce GHG emissions associated with the raw materials of our products.
Regarding transportation, we gather information from our logistics providers to account for emissions associated with the transport of our products, including their measurement capabilities and opportunities to reduce transportation- and distribution-related emissions. These data help us make transportation purchasing decisions and advance our plans to reduce our impacts.
Suppliers covering 17% of our spend on purchased goods and services have set science-based targets.
We are leveraging our use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) to better manage our inventory. In 2022, we grew our Buy Online, Pickup In-Store sales by almost 50% and our Deliver from Stores sales by more than 95%, compared to 2021. RFID has increased our monitoring of the real-time locations of our products and allows us to deliver them to consumers more efficiently.
We also are mindful of the energy usage and GHG emissions associated with the care and cleaning of our apparel products. All of Carter’s care labels on apparel products recommend cold-water wash. According to ENERGY STAR, heating water consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer.
We are using the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Facility Environmental Module (a database of supplier impact data) and direct engagement to better understand the environmental practices and impacts of our apparel and accessory suppliers.
We also expanded our request for data from our Tier 1 suppliers to determine if they have set science-based targets to reduce GHG emissions from their own operations.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition Membership
We’re proud to be a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a global, multi-stakeholder nonprofit alliance for the fashion industry. We join over 250 members working together to reduce environmental impact and promote social justice across the value chain. Through our membership, we will gain insights on how to best manage water used in manufacturing of our products and continue to challenge ourselves to create a more sustainable future.