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WBA issues 2019 global sustainability report

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Company continues progress on reducing carbon footprint.

LONDON — Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) announced on Tuesday the publication of its “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report 2019,” which details the company’s global sustainability initiatives, including efforts to improve access to quality health care, deliver support programs for people living with cancer and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

WBA is a leading global pharmacy retailer and wholesaler, present in 25 countries, including equity method investments. The company includes Boots UK, Boots Ireland, Alliance Healthcare and Walgreens and reaches millions of customers and patients through its retail pharmacy businesses every day.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

• Expansion of in-store support for people living with cancer: For the past 20 years, WBA’s businesses have sought to create innovative and meaningful support for cancer patients and their loved ones. For more than 10 years, Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, one of the largest British charities, have worked together to train beauty consultants and pharmacists to deliver in-store advice to patients and customers on managing physical and emotional side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. Following the U.K. in-store model, in March 2019 Walgreens launched Feel More Like You, which positions trained beauty consultants and pharmacists to advise and support people with cancer at more than 3,000 U.S. locations.

“The experience of cancer can be incredibly lonely,” said a cancer survivor named Jonathan. “Being able to talk with a Boots pharmacist who understood what I was going through and could give me advice on how to manage my physical and emotional side effects helped me feel less lonely and gave me the confidence to tackle my diagnosis head on.”

• Life-changing vitamins to more than 200 million women and children: WBA has dedicated efforts to improving health care in communities around the world. Six years ago, Walgreens and nonprofit Vitamin Angels teamed up to improve maternal and child health. To date, the partners have provided vitamins to more than 200 million women and children across the globe.

The charitable partnership works in two ways: For every customer purchase of vitamins from selected suppliers, Walgreens donates 1% of sales to Vitamin Angels’ outreach efforts across the U.S. and globally. Additionally, for the past two years Walgreens’ Quarter Drive customer donation campaign in January has raised more than $3 million for the Vitamin Angels mission.

“You cannot underestimate the impact of Walgreens’ partnership with Vitamin Angels,” said Dr. Nikhil Harikrishnan, Vitamin Angels program manager in Asia. “I have seen firsthand what a small intervention like a prenatal vitamin or vitamin A can do. We are literally changing lives, and that’s why the 200 million women and children impacted by our partnership is so incredible.”

• Waste reduction and first-of-its-kind sustainable shopping experience: The new CSR report details efforts across WBA businesses to reduce energy consumption, cut the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and empower employees and customers to adopt environmentally friendly actions.

In July 2019, Boots UK launched its flagship Covent Garden store, a first-of-its-kind retail environment. The store features a water station where customers can refill their reusable water bottles and a refilling station for products such as shampoo. All Boots UK stores are also eliminating single-use plastic bags in favor of unbleached paper bags, a continuation of Boots’ journey to reduce plastic use across its business.

“In building the Covent Garden store, we wanted to design the Boots retail experience of the future, one built with sustainability front of mind,” said Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK and Republic of Ireland. “As a global business, we view sustainability holistically, from our supply chain to the in-store experience we deliver for customers. It’s all connected to our desire to operate as a responsible and best-in-class company.”

The WBA 2019 CSR Report was prepared in accordance with the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Standards, Core option. GRI is the world’s most widely used set of sustainability reporting standards.

For more information on WBA’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, click here.


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