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CVS Caremark publishes 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has released its 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which showcases the company’s CSR strategy its Prescription for a Better World and its key priorities. The company also reported its progress on its CSR and sustainability initiatives.

The key topics covered in the report are ones the company considers to be its CSR priorities: access to affordable health care; the environmental impacts of its operations, including those contributing to climate change; product stewardship; patient safety; employee engagement and workplace inclusion; and the safe disposal of prescription drugs, among others.

Prescription for a Better World defines CVS Caremark’s CSR strategy and is aligned to support the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health. The report provides evidence of the company’s core initiatives focused on providing better access to quality, affordable care and improving health outcomes. To advance this cause, the report details the company’s efforts to help Americans gain better access to health care. For example, during the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment period, CVS Caremark conducted campaigns within the retail pharmacy channel, educating millions of Americans about their new coverage options.

A recurring theme in the report is CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores by Oct. 1. This decision reflects the company’s commitment to building healthier communities and aligning products and services with its purpose. In conjunction with stopping the sale of tobacco products, CVS Caremark also will be investing in smoking-cessation programs going forward.

Other highlights in the report include an update on the company’s progress against its 15% carbon intensity reduction goal by 2018, which it is on track to reach; a stronger focus on product stewardship and evaluating and removing certain ingredients; and engaging employees in more diversity programs, as well as health-and-wellness initiatives.

The CVS Caremark 2013 CSR Report was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines, an international framework that is widely used by organizations to report on their CSR and sustainability performance. CVS Caremark adopted the G4 reporting guidelines for its 2013 Report, rather than wait until the new GRI standards are mandatory at the end of 2015.

 

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Study: Olive oil supplements may counteract exposure to air pollution

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO ─ Taking olive oil supplements may counteract some of the adverse cardiovascular effects of exposure to air pollution, according to a new study presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference on Monday.

"Exposure to airborne particulate matter can lead to endothelial dysfunction, a condition in which the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels does not function normally, which is a risk factor for clinical cardiovascular events and progression of atherosclerosis," stated lead study author Haiyan Tong, a research biologist with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. "As olive oil and fish oil are known to have beneficial effects on endothelial dysfunction, we examined whether use of these supplements would counteract the adverse cardiovascular effects of exposure to concentrated ambient particulate matter in a controlled setting." 

The study involved 42 healthy adults who were randomized to receive either 3 g/day of olive oil, fish oil or no supplements for four weeks before undergoing controlled two-hour exposures to filtered air, followed on the next day by exposure to fine/ultrafine concentrated ambient particulate matter in a controlled-exposure chamber.

Immediately after exposure to CAP, significant particulate matter mass-dependent reductions in flow-mediated dilation were observed in the control and fish oil groups, while the decrease in the olive oil group was not significant.

Tissue plasminogen activator, a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots, increased approximately 11.6% immediately after CAP exposure in the olive oil group, and this effect persisted up to 20 hours. Olive oil supplementation also ameliorated changes in blood markers associated with vasoconstriction and fibrinolysis, while fish oil supplementation had no effect on endothelial function or fibrinolysis after CAP exposure.

"Our study suggests that use of olive oil supplements may protect against the adverse vascular effects of exposure to air pollution particles," Tong said. "If these results are replicated in further studies, use of these supplements might offer a safe, low-cost and effective means of counteracting some of the health consequences of exposure to air pollution."

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Kroger to provide $2.3 million to support the USO

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Friday announced that, together with customers, employees and vendors, the grocer will provide $2.3 million to support the USO. Since 2010, Kroger has provided more than $8.5 million to support the USO — the largest cumulative gift to the USO in that organization’s history. 

"The USO supports our military and their families in so many ways — from being right there for the wounded, injured and ill, to helping those who are on deployment record a bedtime story for their children," stated Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s group VP corporate affairs. "The USO connects with our service men and women every step of the way, and Kroger is proud to honor our troops and veterans by supporting them."

Over the ensuing two weeks, store-wide promotions will feature hundreds of popular products at special sale prices. Customers can support brands that make Kroger’s donation possible by purchasing participating items identified by customized shelf tags, including Kroger’s own products and items from such key partners as Coca Cola, Frito Lay, Kraft, Mondelez and Post assorted cereals.  

All of the funds raised will support the broad range of programs and services the USO provides to service members, their families, wounded troops and veterans. 

Kroger also is recognizing company employees and their families who are active and former military members. Kroger has hired more than 22,456 veterans since 2009, and helped the "100,000 Jobs Mission" surpass its original goal to hire 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020 in January 2014, seven years early.

Customers can read stories about active-duty or veteran Kroger employees by visiting HonoringOurHeroes.com.

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