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.
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.
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 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.