CVS Health, one of CR Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens in 2016, has joined the dozens of companies that have pledged to reduce product packaging waste by joining the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
The drugstore and pharmacy company says that its expanding environmental footprint – with thousands of retail pharmacies and a growing supply chain – means that the company needs to continue its efforts to “embed environmental sustainability in our business operations and product development.”
Gather the Usual Suspects: Palm Oil, Packaging & Chemicals
In addition to joining the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, which CVS says will “build on its efforts to reduce product packaging waste in collaboration with its suppliers,” the company has a new palm oil sourcing policy. By 2020, the company says, 100% of the palm oil it uses in products will come from verified, responsible sources delivered through fully traceable supply chains.
CVS has also announced plans to reduce chemicals in its products. The company says it will remove parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors across nearly 600 beauty and personal care products from its store brand lines. The company will stop shipping store brand products that don’t meet those standards by the end of 2019.
These three areas of sustainability are a particularly hot focus for companies at the moment. For example:
—Chemicals: A new report from the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) shared how companies, representing annual revenues totaling over $670 billion across all sectors measure their chemical footprint and how they were able to reduce their hazardous chemical use.
—Palm Oil: Because of its crop efficiency and versatility, global demand for palm oil more than doubled from 2005 to 2015, according to a 2015 report from Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund. This has brought unprecedented threats to forests, wildlife, and people where oil palm is grown and harvested and has prompted many companies – including the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee – to pledge sustainable sourcing of palm oil.
—Packaging: Marks & Spencer and many other retailers have been rethinking their packaging. Earlier this year, Tesco introduced meat and poultry packaging made from 95% food-safe recycled content. Target began phasing out polystyrene foam packing in 2017 and Unilever announced that 100% of its plastic packaging would be completely recyclable, compostable, or reusable by 2025.
Demand for sustainable packaging is likely going to grow, according to market research published earlier this year. The market is expected to reach about $440.3 billion in the next eight years.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has over 190 members including Target, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, USPS, Verizon, and Disney Consumer Products.