How To Store Ready To Use Formula After Opening Go Walgreens – An In-Depth Look at the Nations First Green Drugstore

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Go Walgreens – An In-Depth Look at the Nations First Green Drugstore

Why Waste A Ribbon When You Can Plant A Tree…

San Diego, CA – Walgreens celebrated the opening of the nations first green drug store yesterday not with a ribbon cutting ceremony but with the planting of a native tree.

“We felt that planting a tree was more appropriate than cutting the ribbon and then throwing it away,” said Jamie J. Meyers, LEED AP Project Architect who was present at the ceremony.

Walgreens, the nations largest drug store is once again changing the landscape for the American consumer, this time in green. The store in question was designed from the ground up around the dual mission of efficiency and sustainability. Not only is it the first drug store in the US to meet the USGBCs strict LEED design standards but the 24-hour store also sells many environmentally friendly products.

By exceeding LEED requirements and adding eco-friendly product lines to their inventory they have taken steps that cannot be attributed to the usual corporate “greenwashing”.

A deep commitment…

With this project and future plans for many like it, Walgreens has made a deep commitment to sustainability. Here are just a few things they have built in this shop on the construction side;

-Take landscaping for example- They use all native plants that will not need any watering once they have arranged the transplant. Here in San Diego it’s a big deal as we’re in the middle of a second drought emergency…

– They have taken pains to reduce lighting waste by using 75% of sunlight during the day. This was achieved by installing solar tubes and downlights from the roof. This combined with LEDs in their displays and coolers reduces energy consumption associated with lighting by 50%

– They mitigate stormwater pollution from surrounding buildings by collecting and filtering water as it flows through their property.

– Water consumption is estimated to be 50% below LEED standard levels.

-75% of the materials were salvaged buildings from the previous building on the lot.

– White roofs were included to reduce the energy consumption associated with cooling and mitigate the urban heat island effect.

– There are many other green details as well, such as mixed car parking, bicycle parking, and the site was selected in part because of its proximity to public transport.

While other companies like Wal-Mart and Target have made signs in the green movement Walgreens seems to be getting it. While there is still room for further improvement, significant steps have been taken to “go green” beyond the typical dog and pony show that passes for the environment these days for many companies.

At some point the question was seriously posed – “How can we make it more efficient and sustainable?” And someone took time to find other awnsers. However here we find a question that all modern companies will face as energy prices rise and society becomes more aware of their impact on the planet. Whether it’s the product they produce, the service they provide, or the goods they sell, companies large and small cannot escape the changes that are happening in our environment. Those who do not respond to this change will be like Walgreens competitors like Eckerd; I’m just trying to keep up with the pack.

A history of sustainable progress

“Walgreens is making great strides in our environmental initiatives in general retail stores. We’ve been cutting our electricity and water usage, recycling tons of cardboard and shrink wrap annually and improving equipment efficiency,” said Walgreens Vice President of Marketing Matt Sesto.

Walgreens has never been a trendy/glamorous company. On the contrary, they are a family run All-American company with a long history of steady progress. In many cases they were among the first to implement innovations such as the switch to barcode scanning technology, and the expansion of film development in the 1970s. They were also at the forefront of developing a more convenient, customer-friendly format at a time when drugstores were limited in scope. Through all these changes however they have remained true to their identity as, “Americas corner drugtore”.

So when a company like Walgreens outlines a comprehensive environmental strategy it means something in terms of their future goals. As mentioned by Jim Collins (Author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’) in an article titled Best Beats First;

“They (Walgreens) may be slow – they follow crawl, walk, run, track, but when they run, they will run right into companies that believe being first is all that matters.”

So when Walgreens tells me that they plan to build several new green spaces, and make additional environmental improvements to their existing 6,857 locations – I believe them. This store alone stores enough energy to power 19+ homes a year – imagine what the combined effect would be!

Bringing Green Products to “Every Corner Drug Store in America”

Walgreens’ unique position as a national leader in their industry gives them the opportunity to supply and support eco-friendly green products in a large network of 24-hour warehouses. It also puts them in a position to persuade their competitors to do the same. It doesn’t say anything about the opportunities available to them in terms of providing perfect, eco-friendly and healthy products. Again, in the interest of fairness this is an area where steps have been taken…but there is still room for improvement. While certain green products have been highlighted and given a prominent place – most of their list is the same tip-off… “stuff” that plagues America today.

This brings to mind why I decided to write this article. Walgreens, like many other long-standing companies today is in dire straits. While they struggle to wrap their strategy around the idea of ​​sustainability they still suffer from a long legacy of conventional, polluting, unsustainable business practices. Unfortunately that’s something no company can change overnight. This problem can only be solved through consistent long-term efforts. No initiative or “change program” will make a meaningful difference to behaviors that have been developed over generations.

The good news is that with pressure from marketing giants like Walgreens, mainstream producers (like Walgreens are current suppliers) will naturally “follow their lead” and start offering green alternatives. Here are a few product lines currently available at their Mira Mesa (SD) Location;

Healthy Times – Organic Baby Food – Definitely a green product that’s worth it – especially if you’re sick of paying for water and starch! Organic baby food should be in every grocery/drug store in America. I would recommend this product to any parent trying to get their child off to a healthy green start. They have many options, all organic, all designed to improve children’s skin, hair, growth and general well-being. This baby food contains no refined sugar, preservatives or artificial additives.

Biofusion- This is a Walgreens brand of hair care products that include natural ingredients in their formulas. There is no word yet on sustainability or social responsibility of the manufacturing process, however the formulas are slightly dependent on chemicals with too many ingredients to mention.

Burt’s Bees – Here’s a great example of a mom and pop cottage industry producer who grew into a national success…and now uses that success to promote environmental progress. Not only are their personal care products based on nature (bee) their business philosophy centers around supporting “good” in their charitable giving and encouraging their employees with growth opportunities.

Clorox Greenworks – This is Clorox’s brand of green cleaning products that use – in their name ‘naturally preferred chemistry’ to achieve the same cleaning results as toxic/hazardous Clorox products. Clorox also contributes to the Sierra Club on behalf of this product line. (Find Coupons Here)

Natural Source – SC Johnsons green plant based cleaning products are environmentally friendly and diverse in selection. Check out their website to find out more about these products and what SC Johnson is doing to help the environment.

WaterU- Is another Walgreens made product. A reusable BPA free water jug ​​that comes in a variety of sizes. It is reusable and recyclable and does not contain the harmful BPA found in bottled water containers.

So while green products are made available in this area there is a distinct emphasis on the design end of sustainability. I can imagine that it is difficult to leave a long-term distribution relationship however there is no good reason why Walgreens cannot provide better environmental products for some of their best selling items.

Green Drug Store It is a healthy drug store

An often overlooked (but very important) part of being green is the healthy decisions we can all make

day like eating right, exercising, and choosing good over the counter health products. Consider that the medical industry is a huge dump and polluter of toxic waste. Just look at the next time you’re in the hospital and it’s not hard to see why. If Walgreens can take their commitment to the next level by promoting natural health products and the environment in their stores then it will be a resounding success by any environmental standards.

Going green is as much about lifestyle as the house you live in. By extension, it’s as much about the products you sell as the building you sell. Sometimes that is forgotten in the world of business and industry. I hope Walgreens is able to use wise judgment in this area as they now adapt the design and energy policy of their new buildings. To see pictures of the grand opening check out my article on Go Walgreens in its entirety!

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