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Two Weis stores earn certifications from GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Two Weis stores containing a new, environmentally efficient design have earned environmental certifications awards from the GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership, a voluntary Environmental Protection Agency alliance with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change, the grocer announced Wednesday.

The 62,000-sq.-ft. units are located in Forks Township, near Easton, Pa., and in Bellefonte, near State College, Pa. Each unit achieved a "silver" GreenChill certificate by meeting tough benchmarks for cutting emissions that harm the earth’s protective ozone layer and contribute to global warming.

"Only a handful of American supermarkets have achieved GreenChill status. To meet these high standards, both stores reduced their refrigerant charges by more than 50%," Weis VP store construction and development Kevin Small said. "We will continue to invest in programs and systems that help us reduce our overall environmental impact throughout our store base."

To achieve silver certification, a store must meet stringent environmental criteria, including the following:

  • Use refrigerants that do not damage the Earth’s protective ozone layer;

  • Reduce the size of its refrigerant charge by at least 50% from the industry average;

  • Reduce annual refrigerant emissions to 15% or less of total store capacity; and

  • Test refrigeration systems for adherence to GreenChill’s leak tightness guidelines.

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Walgreens promotes Earth Day

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is helping to promote Earth Day 2012 with the offer of a 20% discount on select beauty, personal care items and other grocery and household needs on Walgreens.com with the code 20NATURAL now through Sunday.

Twitter followers also can find out how to win a variety of eco-friendly products this Friday by searching for #WalgreensEarthDay on Twitter, the pharmacy operator noted.

Walgreens has a long-standing commitment to eco-friendly initiatives, such as reducing energy usage and creating ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Currently, the drug store chain has 134 solar panel installations at its stores, distribution centers and corporate headquarters. In addition, the company utilizes an energy management system that monitors electricity, water, lighting, refrigeration temperatures, heating and cooling, and waste management at more than 3,000 stores to help reduce energy usage and maintenance costs while extending equipment life.

Walgreens also is among the first of retailers hosting electric vehicle charging stations and has plans to offer this service at 800 locations. Drivers can already top off and charge while doing errands or traveling along major commuter routes in Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Tampa/St. Petersburg; Seattle; and Washington.

“Environmental sustainability is part of Walgreens commitment to help our customers live well, stay well and get well, and that’s why it’s important to be a first mover with EV charging stations,” stated Walgreens director of energy and sustainability Menno Enters. “Sustainability is not only smart for our communities and planet but [also] makes good business sense. The feedback we are receiving from customers and team members about all of our sustainability initiatives has been very positive, and we will continue to find ways to lead in this space.”

Walgreens also is participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. As part of the challenge, Walgreens is committed to achieving its goal of reducing its energy usage by 20% across all of its stores and facilities by 2020. In 2010, the company installed a geothermal energy system at one of its stores in Oak Park, Ill. The company’s Mira Mesa, Calif., location received LEED gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

 

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SXC, Catalyst announce merger as PBM market continues to consolidate

BY Michael Johnsen

LISLE, Ill. — SXC Health Solutions and Catalyst Health Solutions on Wednesday announced a merger agreement under which SXC and Catalyst will combine in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion. The announcement comes some three weeks after Express Scripts and Medco consummated their $29.1 billion merger.

The transaction will join SXC’s pharmacy benefit management tools, technology and expertise with Catalyst’s local and collaborative client-centric PBM business model, creating a leading independent provider of PBM solutions, the companies stated. “This is an extremely compelling combination that brings together SXC’s industry-leading tools and technology with Catalyst’s full-service PBM, best-in-class service and growing client base to create a company that is even better positioned to compete in the marketplace,” stated Mark Thierer, chairman and CEO of SXC, who will continue in that role in the combined company.

Shareholders from both companies still need to approve the deal. If they do, SXC shareholders would own about 65% of the combined company, and Catalyst shareholders would own about 35%.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will represent $13 billion in revenue. The combined company will cover approximately 25 million members, with annual prescription volume of more than 200 million adjusted PBM scripts.

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