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CVS Sustainability Report: Carbon Intensity Drops 3.9%

Pharmacy chain CVS Caremark’s absolute CO2 emissions rose 1.2 percent from 2010 to 2011, but when rationalized against the square feet of retail space the pharmacy chain operates, its emissions fell by 3.85 percent over the same time period.

In 2011 CVS emitted 1,800,500 metric tons of CO2 equivalent, up from 1,778,000 CO2e in 2010. But in 2011 the company emitted 0.25 metric tons of CO2e per square foot of retail space, a slight decline from the 0.26 metric tons of CO2e per square foot of retail space released in 2010.

Some 87 percent of the company’s total carbon emissions came from electricity use. Five percent came from its product deliveries, three percent from its natural gas use, three percent from refrigerants and 2 percent from business travel, according to figures in the report.

As electricity is the company’s primary energy source, this has been the focus of its energy saving efforts. Primarily CVS focused on retrofitting energy saving technologies such as efficient lighting and HVAC systems into its existing stores and distribution centers. The company has also worked to enhance its transportation routes and distribution processes, the report says.

CVS is also looking into renewable energy supply in certain regions, but large-scale deployment remains uncertain.

The company is targeting a 15 percent reduction in CO2e per square foot of retail space by 2018, based on 2010 figures.

Last year saw the company continue its participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project. CVS says that joining the CDP and setting a long-term goal carbon provided the company with a plan to help drive environmental performance across its business.

In 2011, the company initiated steps to establish its formal Environmental Management Program. CVS says the EMP establishes a “basic framework” that the company can use to better manage its green commitments.

CVS’s total water use decreased just over two percent from 201o to 2011. When rationalized against the company’s square feet of retail space, water use fell by just under 4 percent, year-on-year.

In 2011 the company used 7,200 megaliters compared to 7,350 megaliters the previous year. In 2010 the company used .000105 megaliters of water per square foot of retail space, compared to .000101 megaliters of water per square foot of retail space in 2011.

The reduction is primarily due to landscaping efficiencies at the company’s corporate facilities and retail locations, the report says. In 2011, CVS’ water usage from these systems was 157,284 kilogallons. This represents a 14 percent decrease from the 182,001 kilogallons it used in 2010, which was a reduction of almost 26 percent from CVS’ 2009 usage of 244,518 kilogallons.

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