Internal and External Engagement Around Our Sustainability Vision

  • Focus: Supply Chain Sustainability

    We have a growing portfolio of private-label and CVS Brand products, and we work with our suppliers to ensure compliance and transparency through our Supplier Ethics Policy. Ingredient compliance is monitored through data collection tools that give us increased visibility into our supply chain. We provide details and results of our supplier audit program in the Leader in Growth section of this report.

    Supplier transparency begins with compliance reporting. All CVS Health suppliers must, at minimum, comply with state and federal environmental laws and regulations. They must also comply with our Supplier Ethics Policy, which contains specific environmental and social criteria that suppliers are evaluated against as part of our factory audit process. These include whether a supplier has a written environmental policy, if they have implemented an environmental management system, and if they have obtained environmental certifications, among other criteria.

  • Reducing the Impacts of Deforestation

    Forests provide vital service to our ecosystems, including carbon sequestration to mitigate GHG emissions, which has prompted some stakeholders to campaign for the preservation of our forest lands. The global expansion of agricultural activities represents the most significant threat to deforestation.

    At CVS Health, we are concerned about deforestation because it contributes significantly to climate change, which we believe will impact human health. We are committed to taking a proactive approach to minimize our impact on deforestation, and in 2015, we established a target to measure our progress in sustainable paper procurement:

    • Procure 100% of the paper stock we use from sustainable sources by 2020.

    In addition to sustainable sourcing of paper, we have also taken a position on the responsible sourcing of palm oil.


    CVS Health uses a significant amount of paper for business operations – more than 73,000 tons each year. This includes paper for in-store receipts and bags for pharmaceutical purchases, PBM member mailers, weekly fliers and other marketing materials, as well as corporate document printing.

    Two years ago, we initiated a long-term, chain-of-custody strategy to transition the paper we use to sustainably sourced and/or recycled-content stock, beginning with a focus on circular, direct mail and office stocks. We have made good progress: approximately 86% of the paper we use across the enterprise is sustainably sourced, and 43% is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). But we know we can do better. We plan to assess our procurement processes in 2016 to ensure we can make consistent progress toward our target.

    Our 2015 progress includes the following achievements:

    Consumer product circulars

    In 2015, we finalized agreements that will facilitate the transition of our circulars to FSC-certified stock. In the first quarter of 2016, approximately 18 tons of circular paper – one third of our total 55,000 tons used annually – will be FSC-certified. Our goal is to complete the transition of all circular paper to FSC by 2017.

    Direct Mail

    In 2014, we stated our intent to include at least 10% post-consumer recycled content in 100% of the paper we use for direct mail. While our results were not as strong as the year prior, we ended 2015 with 44% of our paper used for direct mail containing recycled content, which was seven times the volume from our 2013 baseline year.

    Business stock

    We maintained our program of selecting lighter-weight eucalyptus stock for the 5,712 tons (approximately one billion sheets) of paper used annually in store and office printing and copying.

    Palm Oil

    Palm oil production is a concern because some agricultural practices clear tropical forests for land to increase production. We apply robust standards in the creation and production of each of our CVS Brand and private-label products to help ensure the highest level of quality and safety, including identifying opportunities to design product formulations to meet evolving and increasing consumer demands for environmentally preferable products. We provide more detail on the work we have done in this area in Sustainable Products and Packaging.

  • Focus: Engaging Colleagues in Sustainability

    We believe our sustainability initiatives will have the greatest impact when our colleagues are informed and engaged in them. As a health care company, we believe sustainability is an important lens for our decision-making and business practices, especially when we consider the impact our operations can have on the health of people and the planet.

    We also reach out to external stakeholders, who are able to provide us with a wider view of the sustainability issues that impact our business. We are members of a number of industry groups and consortiums and, early in 2016, we engaged a multi-stakeholder panel with the help of Ceres to provide feedback on our sustainability strategy, especially those areas most material to our business.

    We continue to develop ways for our colleagues to engage. In 2015, we continued to promote our online colleague sustainability platform, which encourages colleagues to track their personal sustainability actions, such as biking to work, carpooling, printing on both sides of the page, turning lights off, and using a reusable water bottle.

    For years, our Colleague Resource Groups have been successful at engaging our people around their shared experiences or interests. In 2015, a new group was in the works — the Green Colleague Resource Group, which will bring together colleagues interested in sustainability. The group will be formally launched in 2016.

    Linking Sustainability to Compensation

    Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important component of business strategy and, as it does, the argument for linking management’s compensation to sustainability performance is gaining ground.

    At CVS Health, each pillar within our CSR strategy – Health in Action, Planet in Balance, Leader in Growth – has an executive-level sponsor who also has accountability to achieve the pillars’ priorities and goals as part of his or her business plan. Remuneration of executive officers, as well as business unit and facility managers, is partially linked to performance against these business plans.

    Sustainability Committees

    We have established committees and task forces that meet on an as-needed basis to provide guidance on sustainability-related decisions and initiatives. These include:

    Energy Technology Assessment Committee

    Works to identify opportunities across our operations to reduce energy and GHG emissions while also lowering costs

    Sustainability Leadership Council

    A team of leaders who meet periodically to discuss our sustainability strategy and set our carbon reduction goal

    Executive Management Council

    A group of senior-level corporate executives representing all business units at CVS Health, who direct the overarching strategy, policy and implementation of our Environmental Management Program and advise our CEO on the program’s performance.

Learn about our other strategic priorities within our Planet in Balance pillar:

Sustainable Operations

Sustainable Products and Packaging

Read the full report:

2015 CSR Report