• Illustration of two people standing by an electric powered vehicle

    Healthy Planet

    Walgreens Boots Alliance is determined to protect the planet through programs in our operations and by engaging suppliers on environmental issues. We are committed to reduce energy consumption and emissions, reduce waste and increase re-use and recycling.

Healthy Planet

Walgreens Boots Alliance is determined to protect the planet through programs in our operations and by engaging suppliers on environmental issues. We are committed to reduce energy consumption and emissions, and reduce waste and increase re-use and recycling.

A woman and a man talking next to an electrical van while the van is charging

At Walgreens Boots Alliance, we believe a healthy planet is essential for healthy communities and that we must do our part to lessen our impact on the environment. During fiscal 2020, WBA continued to address the urgent threat of climate change, expanding our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint from emissions.

We support the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

UN logo for no povertyUn logo for clean and affordable energyUN logo for decent work and economic growthUN logo for sustainable cities and communitiesUN logo for responsible consumption and productionUN logo for climate actionUN logo for life on landUN logo for partnerships for the goals

Healthy Planet Pillars
A street view of a Walgreens store
Energy and Emissions

Climate change is affecting human health in numerous ways. During fiscal 2020, WBA continued to address the urgent threat of climate change, expanding efforts to reduce our carbon footprint from emissions.

Most of our direct emissions are related to energy use for light and heating. We have worked diligently to reduce our energy consumption, especially for electricity and heat. We also report on business travel and downstream transportation and distribution emissions (indirect emissions).

View of the inside of a boots store with focus on two recycling stations
Commitments to Reducing Energy Use and Emissions

Fiscal 2020 was the final year of Walgreens commitment, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings Challenge, to reduce energy intensity by 20 percent across 100 million square feet of retail space, compared with fiscal 2011. The business achieved the goal through energy efficiency investments and other programs.

Supporting the UK’s wider net zero transition, Boots UK pledged to collaborate with 19 other UK retailers on a roadmap for the industry to achieve complete net zero emissions by 2040, including net zero Scope 2 emissions by 2030 and Scope 1 by 2035. The 20 retailers who are signatories to the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Change Statement committed to driving forward decarbonization in shops, distribution centers and logistics operations; driving down emissions in supply chains; and guiding customers toward dramatically lowering their own carbon footprints.

WBA submits an annual climate change disclosure to CDP, showing how we are implementing actions, policies and strategies to address environmental issues and risks. See information about our latest submission here.

Managing Energy Use

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

In fiscal 2020, Walgreens increased the number of store charging stations for customers to 450 stations. Both Boots and Walgreens headquarters have a number of charging stations for employees.


Electric vehicle gif

Total company CO₂e emissions by source

(000 metric tonnes)
Fiscal 2020Fiscal 2019Year-over-year change (%)
Product delivery270271-0.4
Business travel3652-30.8

CO₂e emissions by source, fiscal 2020

Business travel2
Product delivery14
Close up of the legs of a woman as she carries two bags full of plastics
Waste and Plastics

Waste management is an important issue for WBA. We continue to make our business more sustainable through rethinking designs, reducing consumption, recycling, composting and re-using materials.

It is crucial that we do what is reasonably within our control to avoid waste associated with our operations and to minimize any adverse impacts of waste through responsible disposal and increasing circular economies. Collaboration with industry groups is key to resolving waste issues and our businesses work with various coalitions on waste reduction and recycling initiatives.  

A man working at a waste landfill, wearing a light blue face mask with the Walgreens logo
Zero Waste to Landfill

In the fourth year of the zero waste to landfill program at Walgreens distribution centers, 93 percent of waste from 18 facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico was diverted from landfill.

Also in fiscal 2020, the Walgreens distribution center in Orlando, Florida diverted more than 114,000 pounds of material from landfill. This was possible through a partnership with NuCycle Energy that enabled the business to find alternative uses for mixed plastics and paper that are generally rejected by recyclers.

For a second year in a row, less than 1 percent of Boots UK waste went to landfill, with a further reduction in fiscal 2020, to 0.73 percent. The reduction in the amount of operational waste is limited in scope to Boots UK owned operations and does not include some third-party owned office locations.

Boots UK partnered with DHL EnviroSolutions in 2019 to conduct audits, hold existing suppliers accountable, provide input on potential suppliers and share insights about the recycling industry. DHL EnviroSolutions identifies opportunities to improve waste processes for a variety of different types of waste and recycling including, but not limited to, plastic films and pallets.  

WBA employees recycling waste
Reducing Waste

Walgreens and Boots UK worked to reduce waste in various ways during fiscal 2020. Boots UK signed up for the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and Step Up to the Plate pledge in fiscal 2019. Led by WRAP, the collective, ambitious target is to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, in line with SDG target 12.3.

In fiscal 2020, Boots UK employees were introduced to the Boots Environmental Experts (BEE) online training, designed to engage colleagues and further Boots UK environmental targets. More than 14,000 Boots UK employees completed training in fiscal 2020 and broader engagement is anticipated in fiscal 2021.

In November 2019, Walgreens distribution centers joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WasteWise program. WasteWise is the first U.S. voluntary solid waste reduction program, designed to encourage organizations to reduce municipal solid waste through waste prevention, recycling, and buying or manufacturing recycled products. As a WasteWise member, Walgreens is required to establish three new waste prevention activities, expand or improve its current recycling efforts, and purchase or manufacture additional products with recycled content.

In fiscal 2020, Walgreens diverted more than 2 million pounds (more than 907,000 kilograms) of products from landfills across the U.S. by donating unsold or discontinued products like food, toiletries and household items to a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Progress on Plastics

Boots was the first national pharmacy, health and beauty retailer in the UK to replace its plastic bags with unbleached, brown paper bags. Now when customers visit the checkout, they have the option to purchase a bag made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified 100 percent recycled brown paper printed with water-based ink. Since completing the roll out in March 2020, the switch to paper is expected to remove more than 900 metric tonnes of plastic from Boots store operations each year. Boots donated profit from the sale of bags, a total of close to £130,000 ($165,000), to long-time charity partner BBC Children in Need.

Boots UK’s local pharmacies are also prescribing a more sustainable future. Patients can now receive their medicines in 100 percent recycled brown paper bags when they collect their prescriptions in store. Also, as of March 2020, more than 10 million Boots prescription bags sent from its dispensing support pharmacy in Preston, England each year, are made using 100 percent compostable material.

Walgreens joined the groundbreaking Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, a collaboration with other major retailers and nonprofit organizations to identify, test and implement viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag. Collectively, consortium partners committed more than $15 million to launch the Beyond the Bag Initiative in July 2020.

Waste by method of disposal

(000 metric tonnes)
Fiscal 2020Fiscal 2019Year-over-year change (%)

* Without heat recovery.
** Includes materials recovered via incineration with heat recovery.