ESG has become something of a modern buzzword for companies looking to put their best foot forward or gain positive PR. But how can you tell if it’s authentic and not just marketing spin?

What ESG means to me

For me, Environmental Social Governance is at the heart of what makes a business tick. To attract and retain the brightest talent, we must ensure our company culture is inclusive and progressive. Customers and clients demand transparency and fairness in how we interact with them, after all; they have other choices. Recent global events have made it clear that we must take collective responsibility for the environment.

Positive actions matter, not just words!

After only a few weeks in my role as Chief Operating Officer at Target, I’ve been impressed by the actions the business has already taken to drive forward positive change. At Target, our values and culture are embedded in the company and drive our behaviours. We’re committed to doing the right thing for our clients. Taking responsibility for the environment around us, advancing best working practices and fostering engagement with our local communities.

We’ve implemented digital transformation to improve customer outcomes and minimise environmental impacts. We enhance the communities around us, working with local schools to encourage girls into STEM, for example. Crucially we aim to become an employer of choice. To do this, we’re proactively addressing the gender pay gap, celebrating diversity across the business, and supporting our colleagues’ physical, mental, and financial wellbeing.

Don’t just take my word for it; here’s a selection of our recent ESG successes:

Gender equality

  • Our Women in Target community (WinT) is creating career development opportunities and mentoring for our female colleagues

  • KerryAnn Sheppard, Solutions Director at Target, was shortlisted for establishing WinT in the recent prestigious Womenspire Awards

  • We support the development of women by securing places on the Evolving Leaders Programme 2021 (ILM Level 5)

  • We continue to work towards our pledges as part of the Women in Finance Charter

  • Our mean gender pay gap is 23.1%, significantly less than the 32.7% mean average in the finance and insurance industry

Diversity and Inclusion

  • We’ve launched D+I E-learning courses to all colleagues, covering our five key pillars; Gender and Gender Equality, LGBT+, Multi-Cultural, Disability and Multi-Generational awareness

  • We’ve won best Inclusion Strategy at both the Wales CIPD Awards and the Welsh Contact Centre Awards

  • We actively promote D&I and give voice to inspiring stories through our “This is me” feature in our monthly ‘Life at Target’ colleague magazine

  • We’ve mental health first aiders trained to offer support to colleagues – we also offer all staff a free counselling and support helpline (UNUM)

  • We’ve launched a menopause policy to support our colleagues and guide managers on how best to support those impacted


  • We’ve achieved ISO14001 Accreditation, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to environmental management and sustainability

  • We’re introducing electric car charging facilities at our HQ and plan to roll out to other sites

  • All employees are given a volunteering day each year to support causes that matter to them; many choose environmental activities such as beach cleaning

  • We’re committed to offsetting our carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption, travelling, waste and more


  • In the last six months, we’ve seen colleagues parachuting, running and cycling to raise vital funds for charities and local causes

  • We’ve partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity chosen by our colleagues

  • We recently launched our apprenticeship programme – providing young people with the opportunity to get on the career ladder with training, mentoring and a qualification. With a guaranteed job at the end of their apprenticeship!

Our future commitment

This is just a snapshot of the important work the teams across Target are undertaking to ‘walk the walk’ and deliver meaningful and sustainable change to our customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

We’re delighted with the progress. There’s still much to be done, and we’re not complacent about the challenge ahead. We continue to strive towards our ambition to be an industry leader in responsible corporate citizenship.