Retailer Guide | CVS

Published July 12, 2023


CVS is dedicated to sustainability efforts throughout its operations, including rethinking packaging to reduce waste. Our guide is here to help set your brand up for success when working with CVS.


Summary of CVS's Goals

CVS has been engaged in increased sustainability efforts over the past few years. They’ve reduced paper use, energy consumption, and plastic waste through their programs.

Their main sustainability goals include:

  • Transitioning all Store Brands' packaging to 100% reusable, recyclable, compostable, or returnable by 2030

  • Reduce plastic use in Store Brand Packaging by 50% by 2020

  • Ensure all Store Brand paper-based packaging is from recycled or sustainably sourced content by 2025

  • Implement How2Recycle® labeling for 100% of Store Brand packaging by 2025

  • Reduce overall environmental impact by 50% by 2030

  • Pilot an aluminum prescription bottle program to reduce plastic waste

Though many of their specific targets apply to Store Brands, vendors can improve their relationship with CVS by working toward similar sustainability goals.

How EcoEnclose Helps Brands Working With CVS

EcoEnclose is well-positioned to help brands design packaging to fit CVS’s vendor requirements and sustainability goals. Reach out to us if you’d like support:

  • Design packaging with 100% reusable, recyclable, compostable, or returnable materials

  • Eliminate single-use virgin plastic in secondary packaging

  • Transition recycled, responsibly-sourced paper packaging

  • Create packaging that eliminates excess waste

  • Add clear How2Recycle® labeling for your packaging

About CVS

CVS was founded in 1963 as the “Consumer Value Store.” Today, CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the United States, with over 9,600 locations. They sell prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, beauty products, cosmetics, and other general merchandise. CVS also provides healthcare services through MinuteClinic medical clinics, mainly in CVS stores.

If your brand sells wellness, beauty, cosmetic, or other products that fit into the CVS product range, selling with them can give you access to a well-established network of locations nationwide. If you are working with CVS or aiming to do so, keep reading for tips on designing packaging that can help you land the deal and elevate your shelf presence and promotion with the retailer.

CVS Sustainability Goals

Over the past few years, CVS has achieved sustainability milestones such as:

Becoming one of the first seven companies in the world to have a net zero target validated by the SBTi Net-Zero Standard

Being recognized on CDP’s Climate A-List as a Supplier Engagement Leader for the third year in a row

Piloting a Beyond the Bag Initiative program and reusing more than 2,000 bags

Improving energy efficiency with significant upgrades in stores around the country

CVS strives to uphold four core tenets of social responsibility:

Healthy People

CVS is working to deliver healthcare experiences that create more equitable, affordable, and accessible care.

Current efforts include offering more avenues for customers to seek the care they need, creating cost-effective and flexible support tools, and working to provide solutions that fit the needs of individual communities and patients.

Healthy Community

CVS is making philanthropic and business investments to improve the health of the communities where they live and work.

Current efforts include intensive care in high-need Health Zones, financial aid for needy families, disaster relief supplies and donations, and volunteer work by CVS team members.

Healthy Business

CVS is working to ensure that the CVS Health workforce and suppliers mirror the people they serve.

Current efforts include focusing on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives, considering the needs of all stakeholders, and conducting business with integrity and transparency.

Healthy Planet

CVS is working to improve the health of our planet — and the lives of the people who live on it — by advancing our sustainability commitments and addressing the environmental factors that contribute to health inequities.

Current efforts include goals to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, reduce overall environmental impact by at least 50% by 2030, and report under the leading environmental, social, and governance frameworks.

CVS is also striving to reduce the use of plastic materials and ensure recyclability for all product packaging in their Store Brands. They joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2021 for a complete audit of all their plastic packaging.

Another important goal is reducing paper usage by optimizing digital receipts and documents for their pharmacies.

To minimize waste across its supply chain, CVS is working with suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging materials.

Here are some of their specific requirements for product and secondary packaging.

cvs packaging roadmap

Packaging Requirements for CVS Store Brands

In addition to conducting a plastic audit through the World Wildlife Fund, CVS joined the Resource: Plastic initiative in 2022 as a Principal Retail Member to continue working toward high standards on plastic use in the retail industry.

CVS has set the below high sustainability targets for their Store Brands and exclusive retail brands, and it continues to report on these efforts through its annual sustainability reports.

Target 1

Ensure all packaging for Store Brands products is 100% reusable, recyclable, compostable, or can be returned to CVS for proper disposal at the end of life by 2030.

Target 2

Partner with suppliers to ensure all packaging meets basic recyclability standards or can be composted or reused. Develop in-store recycling programs to meet specific needs.

Target 3

Reduce plastic use in operations by 50% by 2030.

Target 4

Reduce single-use virgin plastic in Store Brand packaging by 50% by 2030.

Target 5

Replace virgin plastic with other packaging materials such as PCR, bio-based, or non-plastic materials whenever possible.

Target 6

Ensure all Store Brand paper-based packaging is from recycled or certified sustainably sourced content by 2025.

Target 7

Implement How2Recycle® labeling for 100% of Store Brand packaging by 2025.

Target 8

Redesign packaging when necessary to reduce unnecessary waste.

Packaging Requirements for CVS Suppliers

Unlike their goals for Store Brands, CVS has not published many specific sustainable packaging targets or requirements for suppliers.

One of CVS’s key initiatives is working with suppliers to create a more transparent, sustainable supply chain. As such, suppliers who prioritize sustainability are more likely to have an opportunity to work with the company.

Using their Store Brands requirements as a framework, suppliers can work to align with CVS’s sustainability goals by:

Target 1

Reducing overall plastic use whenever possible

Target 2

Replacing virgin plastic with more sustainable materials

Target 3

Designing packaging for recycling, composting, or take-back programs

Target 4

Sourcing paper packaging elements from recycled materials or certified sustainable forests

Target 5

Choosing packaging that eliminates unnecessary waste

Sustainable Packaging Solutions

EcoEnclose Is Ready To Help Your Brand

Are you currently working with CVS or looking to have your brand carried in their stores?

EcoEnclose is ready to help you develop packaging solutions that align with CVS’s sustainability goals and help you put your best foot forward.

Here are specific ways we’ve helped supplier brands for CVS:

vitamin packaging

Efficient Packaging Design

You can work to meet CVS’s overall goal to reduce packaging waste by choosing an efficient packaging design. EcoEnclose works with your brand and analyzes your product line to find areas where you can reduce packaging waste and choose the best size, shape, and type.

Virgin Plastic Alternatives

As CVS prioritizes reducing virgin plastic use, EcoEnclose can help your brand transition to alternatives such as recycled content, aluminum, or paper.

End Of Life Design

Since CVS works to make all Store Brand packaging recyclable, compostable, or reusable, EcoEnclose can help you assess your packaging’s lifecycle and choose alternatives for responsible disposal after use.

How2Recycle® Labeling

CVS aims to have 100% of its private brands feature H2R labeling, and your brand can also benefit from implementing this labeling. EcoEnclose helps brands navigate the How2Recycle® request and labeling process.

Looking for Guidance?

We'd love to help you find the right packaging solution for your business.