WBA issues corporate social responsibility report

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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The Boots UK Covent Garden flagship store

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s latest report on its corporate social responsibility efforts is shining a light on its global sustainability efforts. It also documents the company’s work around the world to improve healthcare access, offer support programs for patients with cancer and reduce its carbon footprint. 

“Our purpose at WBA is to help people live healthier and happier lives,” said Ornella Barra, WBA’s co-COO and the chairman of the company’s corporate social responsibility committee. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential, regardless of where one lives. That’s why we mobilize our incredible employees and invest resources in issues that impact our patients, customers and society. We believe in our ability to effect positive change in communities around the world.”

Among the highlights in the report is the company’s work to support patients with cancer and their loved ones, which has included a Boots UK partnership with British charity MacMillan Cancer Support and was mimicked in the United States with Walgreens’ Feel More Like You effort. The program positions trained beauty consultants and pharmacists to offer in-store advice to patients navigating the physical and emotional side effects of living with cancer at more than 3,000 stores. 

The company also has worked to boost access to vitamins, providing more than 200 million women and children with vitamins around the world in the six years since it kicked off a partnership with the nonprofit Vitamin Angels. For each vitamin purchase of a select supplier, Walgreens donates 1% of sales toward Vitamin Angels’ outreach efforts. 

“You cannot underestimate the impact of Walgreens partnership with Vitamin Angels,” said Nikhil Harikrishnan, Vitamin Angels program manager in Asia. “I have seen first-hand 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.”

Additionally, Walgreens touted its efforts toward waste reduction and using sustainable ideas to create unique shopping experiences. For example, last July, Boots UK launched its Covent Garden store, which featured a water station for customers to fill up reusable water bottles, as well as a refilling station for such personal care products as shampoo. Boots UK also is eliminating single-use plastic bags and replacing them with unbleached paper bags. 

“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.”

To read the full report, click here