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Responsible Water Use Policy


As a leader in health care, we believe we have a responsibility to help transform the health of our planet. We also strive to operate in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner as we deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health and are committed to embedding sustainability throughout our operational footprint. While CVS Health is not a large consumer of water, we recognize the link between water use and climate change. We have several programs in place to manage water-related risks and govern our water usage beyond regulatory compliance. 

CVS Health’s primary business dependency on water exists across our physical footprint of retail locations, distribution centers and field offices for the provision of fire sprinklers and as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services, in recognition of the UnitedNations (UN) General Assembly’s Human Right to Water and Sanitation (United Nations General Assembly, 2010). As a retailer, our business impact on water outside these dependencies is negligible. 

CVS Health’s new store construction guidelines for the development of new properties contains our commitment to water-related innovation including environmentally appropriate landscaping, water efficiency for store construction, as well as the implementation of water reduction initiatives for LEED and non-LEED buildings. Additionally, we leverage the World Resources Institute (WRI) to evaluate water stress levels and conduct scenario planning for water availability, as part of our annual enterprise-wide climate risk assessment.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve as an important guide for this policy and CVS Health’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) roadmap. The SDGs that inform our Water Policy and align with our business impacts include: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGoal 13: Climate Action; and Goal 15: Life on Land. Additionally, CVS Health was the first US pharmacy chain to be a signatory to the UN Global Compact, driving collective impact on water and climate-related issues, the tenants of which also inform this policy. The UN Global Compact’s tenants of the precautionary approach, environmental responsibility and the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies further influence our water stewardship strategy. Communication on CVS Health’s progress against these tenants can be found in our annual CSR Report and appendix. CVS Health has developed a new suite of climate-related performance targets as part of our Transform Health 2030 CSR roadmap, which can be found in our 2020 CSR report.

Oversight of this policy lies with the office of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) and, in the spirit of continuous improvement, is reviewed on an annual basis. CVS Health will use the recommendations of Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures (TCFD) to assess both physical and transition risks with a focus on reputational risks across our value chain within the next year.