McKesson Corporation Tackles Climate Change by Increasing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

by | Feb 21, 2023

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McKesson Corporation distributes pharmaceuticals, and it provides healthcare technology and medical supplies. It delivers a third of North America’s drugs and employs 78,000 people. The Texas-based company had $238 billion in revenues last year, qualifying it as one of the top Fortune 500 companies.

Its mission statement explicitly says it aims to impact the communities where it does business. To that end, sustainability is a top goal. McKesson Europe aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, while McKesson Corporation set in 2021 a science-based target initiative to keep temperature increases in check and aligned with the Paris climate agreement.

“Climate action for health: We acknowledge the direct and significant impact climate change has on human health and that human activity is related to the underlying environmental factors that contribute to climate change and human health,” it says. “We embrace our responsibility and are taking additional action to protect our planet, sustain our business, and ultimately serve the health of patients and communities, some of whom are presently dealing with the impacts of climate-related issues and illnesses.”

It builds a strong foundation across its enterprise and supply chain. For example, it has put its senior management in charge of implementing climate and environmental policies, ensuring employees embrace them throughout the company. The mission extends beyond the company’s four walls and into the communities it serves.

Throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, it has sharpened its accounting and increased its transparency regarding emissions reductions, energy efficiency programs, and renewable energy buying programs.

Could McKesson detail the steps it is taking to reduce emissions? 

The company established a formal public statement on climate change in January 2021, stating that human activity contributes to global warming and human health. Therefore, McKesson sets out to protect our planet, and sustain its business, which ultimately serves the health of patients and communities, some of whom are presently dealing with the impacts of climate-related issues and illnesses.

“While our Global Impact Organization, our ESG strategy, and our climate change statement are new, for many years, teams across the enterprise have been implementing initiatives that mitigate our environmental impact,” it says.

What makes its mission statement uncommon is that it lists the various effects of climate change — things like rising tides, rising temperatures, and droughts. That can impair the health of the communities where it operates, making it imperative to be part of the solution. That necessitates investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy procurement, and fleet optimization.

McKesson Europe has reduced emissions by 9%, making a major step to reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.

As an international business focused on distributing pharmaceuticals, its target areas are improving energy usage and efficiency in its buildings, electrifying its fleets or making those cars more fuel efficient. It also does simple things like use mapping software, which helps drivers find the best routes, save gas, and prevent emissions.

“When we purchase or lease vehicles in the U.S., we specify such attributes as aerodynamic vehicle components to reduce drag and increase fuel economy,” it says. “We also use lightweight materials for key components, and engine mapping technology to increase fuel efficiencies. Our fleet in North America has already seen the impact of these efforts, and we continue to adjust our fleet to increase efficiency.” For example, it has 55 electric or hybrid vehicles in Europe. It has also increased its use of electric bikes.

Its buildings are also significant energy hogs — warehouses, offices, or distribution centers. The goal is to cut down on lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It uses “connected buildings technologies” to provide the company insight into real-time analytics and give it more visibility into business operations. That will create energy savings, it says.

One idea is to increase the use of LEDs, which use less electricity. Since 2020 in the US, it has reduced electricity usage by 23% across 30 locations. “This equates to a reduction of 19.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity.” The company has also earned LEED energy efficiency certifications for buildings in Arizona. Florida, Texas, California, and Illinois.

For example, indoor plumbing fixtures cut water usage by 35% in Jacksonville and 40% in Arizona. Moreover, The buildings are reducing energy use by 15% below industry standards. “The Jacksonville, Fla., LEED project diverted 75% of generated construction and demolition waste from landfills throughout the construction process. In addition to reducing our overall electricity emissions, we also work to increase the amount of renewable energy in our portfolio.”

Moreover, its 1.1-megawatt rooftop solar array at its West Sacramento, Calif., distribution center has been live since FY20, producing enough power to run more than two-thirds of the facility’s annual consumption in its first year. And it will complete a 2.7 MW solar array this year at its distribution center in Robbinsville, N.J.

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