CVS Unveils Carbon Reduction Goal

by | May 10, 2011

CVS Caremark has announced a goal of reducing carbon intensity by 15 percent by 2018, from a 2010 baseline, according to its Corporate Social Responsibility report for 2010.

The report reveals that CVS’s carbon intensity remained constant from 2009 to 2010 at .026 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per square foot of retail space. Over that time the company increased its floor space from 67.8 million to 69.7 million square feet, and reduced absolute CO2 equivalent emissions by 0.8 percent, from 1.786 million to 1.778 million tons.

The 2010 report features a restatement of 2009 GHG data, this time including refrigerants, and the 2009-2010 comparisons are based on this recalculation. The emissions data also includes output from energy use at all stores, distribution centers and corporate offices, as well as emissions from business travel and product deliveries.

Stores account for 97 percent of CVS’s GHG emissions, and electricity accounts for 87 percent of its carbon output.

From 2009 to 2010 CVS’s electricity use at its stores, offices and distribution centers remained flat at 2.8 million MWh. Natural gas use in buildings increased by two percent, from 9.8 million to 10 million therms, and enterprise-wide fuel consumption – including deliveries, car fleet, air fleet and employee travel – fell by nine percent, from 10.8 million to 9.8 million gallons.

Fleet initiatives in 2010 included adding aerodynamic skirts to 14 truck trailers and use of governors on truck fleets to limit speeds to 63 miles per hour. But the biggest changes came from routing and cube optimization, which increased space utilization by 5.6 percent, eliminated 11,000 routes and saved more than 500,000 gallons of gas, while improving trucks’ fuel efficiency from 6.37 to 6.46 mpg.

The report says that CVS’s greatest opportunity to reduce emissions is to adopt new energy efficiency measures, and to continue some of its current efforts. These include more efficient refrigeration units in new and relocated stores, and energy-efficient heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC).

In 2010 the company completed a pilot of an energy management system for 250  stores in Florida. The system, run from a centralized corporate location, automatically adjusts lighting, temperature, HVAC and other systems to only use energy when it is needed. CVS says it will roll out the system to more locations in 2011, with the aim of covering all stores by 2018.

Last year CVS installed LED lighting for outdoor signs at all its new stores, and it plans to start retrofitting existing stores with the exterior lighting. The company has also adjusted non-critical lighting, such as backlighting on cosmetic displays in refrigerated aisles.

Also in 2010, CVS continued to replace black rubber roofs on its large facilities with FiberTite white roofing membrane and installed polyiso insulation. CVS says these are both “environmentally preferred materials” that help reflect heat and lower energy consumption. The company aims to install these white roofs on new and relocated stores, particularly in warm climates.

The company says it is exploring the use of alternative and renewable energy, particularly solar, which it is already using in Hawaiian operations. CVS has begun designing fuel cell infrastructure for forklifts at its new distribution center in Chemung, N.Y., where the company expects to get LEED certification.

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