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07/25/2022

Rite Aid works toward ‘four pillars’ of ESG

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Rite Aid is releasing its annual ESG report.

Rite Aid Corp. is reducing energy usage while increasing supply chain transparency and workplace diversity.

The drugstore retailer has published its fourth annual published its fourth annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, detailing the company’s strategy and progress against goals over the past year. The 2022 report addresses the four ESG pillars introduced in the company’s 2021 report: Thriving Planet, Thriving Business, Thriving Workplace and Thriving Community.

Following are brief overviews of Rite Aid’s progress in each pillar.

Thriving Planet
Rite Aid took steps toward its objective of reducing the company’s environmental impact by lessening energy demand, transitioning to lower carbon energy sources, minimizing waste and improving fleet efficiency, including:

  • Expanding its partnership with renewable energy solutions provider 3 Phases Renewables to purchase 50% renewable power at select stores in Southern California to include an additional 150 stores, its Thrifty ice cream plant, and a distribution center.
  • By the end of 2021, 42% of Rite Aid stores had transitioned to LED lighting. The company is on track to complete a goal of installed LED lighting at 100% of its stores by 2035.
  • Throughout 2021, Rite Aid diverted more than 76,000 tons of recyclable material from landfills through its recycling programs.

Thriving Business
Rite Aid is working to improve supply chain transparency and engagement, formalize environmental and social sourcing guidelines and policies, and enhance consumer transparency around sustainable products and sourcing. Actions to support these goals include:

  • Utilizing the services of independent, third-party auditors to evaluate supplier partners’ compliance in both security and social accountability. In 2021, Rite Aid audited 51 factories, and while the majority received an overall acceptable rating, Rite Aid ended relationships with seven suppliers that did not correct deficiencies identified in the audit.
  • Holding its first supplier sustainability summit, meeting with more than 75 different suppliers showcasing products that support whole health and clean ingredients.
  • Accelerating plans to source 100% cage-free eggs in all of locations by the end of 2022.

Thriving Workplace
Rite Aid is implementing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy and recruitment and retention practices, such as:

  • In 2021, the company introduced the DEI Talent Network, an employee resource group aimed at promoting diversity and health and wellness equity, improving the workplace and community, and providing professional development opportunities. Rite Aid also developed a new DEI strategy roadmap, which includes the integration of DEI HR policies and business processes.
  • Also in 2021, Rite Aid announced its decision to be a remote-first employer, as part of broader efforts to modernize its workplace and recruit the best talent regardless of location.

Thriving Community
Rite Aid is attempting to improve health equity, outcomes and access to care in the communities it operates, with services including:

  • Improving access to COVID-19 vaccines in neighborhoods across the country, partnering with organizations such as the Newark Equitable Vaccine Initiative and the NAACP and the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO to set up clinics for vulnerable or underserved populations. To date, Rite Aid has administered over 17 million COVID-19 vaccines.

[Read more: Rite Aid introduces digital COVID-19 vaccine cards]

  • Through the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) National Take Back Days, Rite Aid removed more than 792 tons of unused medications from homes and more than 80,000 pounds from its in-store medication disposal kiosks. Rite Aid also distributed 412,354 Dispose Rx packets free of charge to assist opioid patients in quickly and safely disposing unused excess opioids.

In addition, Rite Aid now publicly supports of eight of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which are designed to facilitate global development by 2030. The report maps Rite Aid ESG achievements and priorities to the eight goals, including Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Affordable and Clean Energy, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

“As a purpose-driven healthcare organization, we recognize the need to do our part in minimizing our environmental footprint and making a positive impact through our associates in the communities we serve,” said Paul Gilbert, chief legal officer overseeing ESG efforts at Rite Aid. “Our advancement thus far is exciting, and we look forward to further progress in the months and years ahead.”

Based in Camp Hill, Pa., Rite Aid operates 2,350 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states under the Rite Aid and Bartell Drugs banners.