CVS Caremark Executives to be Questioned Over Company’s “Sustainability” Efforts

Shareholder to Request Answers About Impact of Green-Product Push on Consumers and Small Suppliers

Woonsocket, RI / Washington, D.C. – The National Center for Public Policy Research plans to question CVS Caremark’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo about the drug store chain’s push for costly sustainability efforts at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Woonsocket, Rhode Island on May 10.

CVS Caremark is a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) – one of the country’s largest trade organizations, representing more than 200 companies and many of the largest American retail chains. RILA is pressuring its membership to adhere to the association’s new sustainability policy. This policy directs retailers to reduce their “carbon footprint” through reduced “greenhouse gas” emissions. It also sets up adherence to sustainability standards that involves the possible redesign and rating of products.

“Efforts to extend so-called ‘sustainability’ ratings into every aspect of the retail world would place an undue burden on manufacturers, suppliers and ultimately consumers,” said National Center General Counsel Justin Danhof. “Production costs will likely increase with these new sustainability standards. Suppliers will be forced to pay more for compliance, parts, packaging, staffing and more to meet these guidelines.”

To learn more about RILA’s sustainability push, read here.

“Customers will ultimately bear the burden of RILA’s sustainability policy. While RILA executives look good to radical environmentalist special interests, the average American is going to be paying more for the same goods and services,” said Danhof. “This is like Hollywood celebrities who purchase carbon offsets to do their part for the environment. They want to feel good about helping the environment, but they just don’t want to diminish their lavish lifestyles. The same goes for these large retailers. Thy want to pretend to care about environmentalism and become part of the green movement, but they will pass the high-cost of these decisions onto their customers.”

There may be another unintended consequence to RILA’s “greenwashing” efforts: the death of many small manufacturers. As retailers demand new green designs and labeling, producers will bear the costs associated with this new hurdle. And small producers that cannot afford the additional design and compliance staff necessary to get these products to market may go under.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. CVS and other RILA members should reconsider this sustainability effort and work towards free-market reforms that promote small businesses and keep consumer prices low,” said Danhof.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a CVS Caremark shareholder.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters. In 2011 it received over 350,000 individual donations. Two percent of its revenue comes from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.