Corporate Social Responsibility: Eco-Efficient Operations and Transportation

Across our company, we're working to use less energy and use resources wisely.

Healthier communities thrive in a healthier environment. That’s why we’re sharpening our focus on environmental sustainability.

Establishing new environmental best practices is a priority across McKesson businesses. We work to capture the metrics most relevant to our lines of business and act on recommendations that lead to a healthier environment.

We use electricity for lighting and IT, and fuel for heating and transportation, including inbound and outbound distribution and business travel. We focus on efficiency across these areas.

In our distribution centers and pharmacies, we focus on reducing energy use and finding alternative sources of energy. As a company focused on distribution, transportation is important to us – in particular, fuel efficiency for our fleet.

Reducing energy use in our facilities

Across our locations, we work to use less energy for lighting and heating.

Increasing LED lighting to lessen our footprint

Our buildings use energy mainly for lighting. In our distribution centers, lighting accounts for up to 40% of the electricity consumption. In our pharmacies, it’s approximately 55-70%. With more efficient lighting, we can cut our CO2 emissions and reduce our carbon footprint.

During FY18, we had LED lighting initiatives in our distribution centers, pharmacies and offices. Through these initiatives, we expect to see energy reductions of up to 40%. Our European distribution centers expect to save more than 3,300 tons of CO2 emissions per year through LED lighting alone.

While we’re bringing LED lighting to more than 350 pharmacies in Europe, we’re also replacing inefficient heating systems with more efficient units, complete with timer controls and/or presence detectors. This initiative follows a successful pilot, where we helped 50 pharmacies save energy equal to 200 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Monitoring energy use to make smart changes

We use a number of tools to benchmark our energy use, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager and the implementation of the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive. In many distribution centers we also monitor energy consumption by production line, which helps us find more opportunities to conserve and cut energy use.

Bringing in renewable energy to move toward the future

As the first step in diversifying energy sources, we signed a long-term agreement to purchase solar power from solar arrays. We’ll install these arrays in a large distribution center in the U.S., starting FY19. We expect the agreement to reduce costs for McKesson, producing electricity equal to approximately 74% of the facility’s annual consumption. In our warehouses in Belgium, we also switched from purchasing electricity that was generated from traditional sources to renewable energy from FY17 onward.

Working toward environmental certifications as we grow

As part of our energy reduction strategy, we pursue environmental certification for new and newly renovated buildings. For example, our European headquarters in Stuttgart was recognized by the German Sustainable Business Council. Similarly, our U.S. offices in Irving, Texas; Richmond, Virginia; Scottsdale, Arizona; and San Francisco, California, are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. We are also pursuing WELL certification for several U.S. locations, a system that measures features of the built environment that affect human wellness.

Transportation: more efficiency, less impact

More output with less energy input – this is the principle of energy efficiency. It makes perfect business sense because we save money by reducing our energy needs. At the same time, we reduce our impact on the environment by using fewer resources, which means we emit less CO2.

Transportation in our operations

We’re an international business focused on distribution. For us, fuel consumption for transportation is an environmental challenge and opportunity. Our strategy focuses on optimizing delivery routes and the efficient use of delivery vehicles. To do that, we monitor mileage and fuel consumption, and we educate our drivers on eco-efficient driving.

Energy reduction for outsourced fleets

In areas where we outsource transportation, we take advantage of external carriers’ ability to optimize schedules and avoid returning empty trucks to distribution centers. We also work with customers to adjust delivery schedules to be more efficient. By reducing the number of miles driven, we can also cut CO2 emissions.

Energy reduction for our in-house fleet

In some areas, we own our fleet. When it comes to buying new vehicles, fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions are key criteria. We also adjust delivery routes and vehicle loading, to cut mileage and increase efficiency. Our fleet in Canada’s Quebec province has already seen the impact:

  • Equipment upgrades: We have a multi-year initiative to upgrade our line-haul tractors and 5-ton vehicles. The annual fuel reduction is 95,770 liters.
  • Fleet changes: In FY16, we added long combination vehicles (LCV) to our line-haul network in Quebec. LCVs use less fuel to carry goods, which reduces our carbon footprint.
  • Driver education: We teach our drivers environmentally friendly and safe practices, such as driving at a safe speed limit and avoiding idling.

Redistribution center model

We operate two National Redistribution Centers (NRDCs) in the U.S. and one in France. These centers help us to better manage our inventory and reduce redundancies. Even better, they help us reduce the movement of our inventory. In turn, we can save on costs and fuel within our distribution center network.

Employee travel and commuting

For travel to the office, we encourage employees to use sustainable options, like bikes or buses. In North America and several European countries, McKesson also offers commuter benefits, a benefit that lets employees use pre-tax dollars to pay for items like subway cards or train tickets. In Canada, our Montreal office has reserved parking spaces for people who carpool. Several Canada sites offer electric/hybrid car charging stations. Also, 12% of our North American employees don’t commute, as they work from home.

While business travel is part of how we work, it also affects the environment. To reduce our impact, we encourage employees to use tele- and video-conferencing whenever possible to reduce travel and, by extension, our carbon footprint.

C02 emissions performance in FY18

Earlier editions of the report included partial data from Europe and Canada. Rather than restate our FY17 data, we’re using FY18 as a new baseline year.


FY17 CO2 emissions (metric tons)*

FY18 CO2 emissions (metric tons)*

Scope 1: Fuel consumption for in-house U.S. pharmaceutical, medical-surgical, Canada and Europe fleets; natural gas consumption in U.S., Canada and Europe facilities; heating oil in Canada and Europe facilities



Scope 2: Electricity consumption in U.S., Canada and Europe facilities



Scope 3: U.S., Canada and Europe employee air travel; third-party transportation



  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from the consumption of natural gas, heating oil, diesel fuel and gasoline. In FY18, our Scope 1 emissions increased from 92,086 to 124,911 tons of CO2 equivalent. This increase happened because we broadened the scope of our reporting. Starting with this report, we’re including emissions related to natural gas and diesel in Canada facilities and the Canada fleet in our Scope 1 calculation.
  • Scope 2: Emissions from purchased and consumed electricity, long-distance heating consumption and purchased renewable energy. In FY18, our Scope 2 emissions fell from 193,076 to 178,385 tons of CO2 equivalent. This decrease is due to a drop in the number of facilities in the U.S. in FY18, after McKesson contributed the majority of the businesses in our Technology Solutions segment to form a new healthcare information technology company, Change Healthcare. Starting in FY18, we are including Canadian facilities in our reporting.
  • Scope 3: In FY17, we reported travel booked through our corporate travel partner in North America. Year-to-year, emissions from this source decreased by 1%. However, we saw an overall rise in FY18, since we’re now including data from our corporate travel partner in Europe and a transportation supplier.

We measure CO2 emissions using the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Fossil Fuel Consumption in MWh*

Fuel Type









Heating Oil



Natural Gas



Conserving resources in our daily work

We use a variety of resources in our work. Besides power sources, we use office paper, packaging, water and materials related to distribution. We do our best to use only what we need. When we can’t avoid using resources, we strive to use recycled products.

Resource scarcity doesn’t only affect McKesson. Companies that aim to stay competitive in the long term must work towards closed-loop systems and use their resources responsibly. This approach makes sense from both an economic and an ecological point of view.

We stand for sustainable handling of all materials in our daily business. To reduce our impact on the environment, we continuously improve the way we handle resources for our products, our services and our processes. To hold ourselves accountable, we report on recycling and water use.

Use of resources: FY17-FY18


FY17 (U.S. only)

FY18 (U.S. and Canada)

Materials recycled

12,886 tons, of which:

  • Cardboard: 10,709 tons
  • Single stream: 1,925 tons
  • Metal: 51 tons
  • Wood: 6 tons
  • Other: 195 tons

15,307 tons, of which:

  • Cardboard: 13,398 tons
  • Single stream: 1,624 tons
  • Metal: 73 tons
  • Wood: 98 tons
  • Other: 114 tons

Water use

366,786,967 liters

339,449,541 liters

Hazardous waste

Our Hazardous and Regulated Waste Management Program establishes standards to identify and manage hazardous and regulated waste, and handle hazardous and regulated waste spills. Through the program, we make sure that accumulation and disposal of waste from McKesson facilities complies with international, national and regional regulations.

When it comes to e-waste, we partner with certified suppliers for both leased and non-leased assets. Leased electronic assets make up the bulk of our portfolio. Upon return, most are wiped clean and reused. If they can’t be reused, the parts are recycled.

We also report on total hazardous waste for McKesson Europe. In FY18, we generated 751 tons of hazardous waste, a decline from 1,036 tons in FY17.

Transport of reusable containers

In many of our businesses, we send medication to customers – including pharmacies and hospitals – in reusable containers. After the containers are unloaded and emptied at their destination, we use them for the next delivery. Our return system guarantees a smooth pick-up process. By reusing containers, we save valuable resources and avoid unnecessary waste every day.

Reducing water use

Water is a limited resource, so we seek to reduce its use in our operations. In the U.S., water use dropped 11.4% from FY17 to FY18. This is because we had fewer U.S. facilities in FY18 after the formation of Change Healthcare, described earlier on this page.

One way we’re limiting water use is with a smart irrigation program, currently under pilot at a large office location in the U.S. This system adjusts watering times based on weather conditions and also lets us check our water use remotely. Users can receive notifications about changes to the settings or equipment malfunctions. Automation saves water because the irrigation system runs less often, and it is easier to identify problems.

Reducing paper use

By going digital, we’re using less paper. Our initiatives range from a digital repository in Canada, which saves an estimated 234 trees yearly, to electronic handheld scanners for packing orders at distribution centers. When we can’t avoid using paper, we encourage two-sided printing and use of recycled stock.

Complying with laws and regulations

Our environmental commitment begins by adhering to all applicable environmental laws and regulations. Just as we take great care in the safety and security of our products, services and people, we are careful and thoughtful to minimize the effect of our company operations on the environment.

During the period covered by this report (April 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018), McKesson was in material compliance with all applicable environmental regulations.

  • FY19 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

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    Our Approach to Corporate Responsibility

    We focus on the issues that matter most, guided by our ICARE shared principles.

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    Employees & Communities

    We support the health of our employees, patients and the communities we touch.

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    Product Quality & Patient Safety

    It's crucial to deliver the safest products to the patients who count on us.

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  • Our Sustainability Initiatives

    1. Increasing LED lighting across facilities
    2. Monitoring and benchmarking energy use
    3. Pursuing environmental certification
    4. Reducing movement of inventory through our redistribution center model
    5. Recycling and reusing resources

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