Environmental Sustainability

Protecting the Health of Our Planet

HDA and the nation’s healthcare distributors recognize the industry’s responsibility to reduce its carbon emissions — and view protecting our planet as an extension of our commitment to the health and safety of communities across America.

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The Healthcare Sector Makes Up Nearly 20% of the U.S. GDP

The healthcare ecosystem is a major consumer of resources, and as a result, a major producer of waste and greenhouse gases. Improving the carbon footprint of the entire health sector can drastically lower the approximately 8.5 percent of U.S. carbon emissions for which it is responsible, while also having significant health, social and economic benefits.

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Distributors Play a Role in Reducing the Environmental Impact of the Healthcare Sector

The distribution industry efficiently delivers millions of medicines daily, connecting 1,500 manufacturers with around 330,000 providers. This consolidation minimizes the environmental impact of the healthcare industry, as distributors eliminate the need for manufacturers to maintain direct relationships with each pharmacy and hospital. Our industry is actively working to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and environmental impact through investments in renewable energy and innovative technologies for lower energy consumption.

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Environmental Sustainability and Disaster Response Are Connected 

Distributors not only respond to crises but are also affected by them. The repercussions of climate change can amplify the frequency and severity of disasters. During crises, distributors grapple with the challenges posed by regional and local conditions, playing a pivotal role in ensuring the continuous delivery of essential medical supplies. HDA advocates for preserving mechanisms that enable distributors to optimize the flow of critical information.

Additionally, it is imperative for the public sector to provide incentives for manufacturers and distributors to maintain additional capacity, thereby enhancing resilience against the anticipated surge in shocks to global supply chains due to climate change. This proactive approach aligns with climate adaptation strategies and fortifies the healthcare system's ability to withstand and respond to evolving environmental challenges.

Reducing the Sector’s Environmental Impact

Many HDA members are taking significant steps to reduce carbon emissions in the healthcare supply chain. From innovations in packaging and delivery methods to harnessing solar energy, healthcare distributors across the country are championing innovative approaches that both increase operational sustainability and ensure the safe and reliable delivery of products. Initiatives include: 

  • Reducing Distributors’ Carbon Footprint

    Through route reductions and optimizations that recentralize, aggregate and shift deliveries in collaboration with partners
  •   Enhancing Waste Management and Shipping Programs

    This includes the use of sustainable packaging and diverting millions of pounds of waste from landfills annually
  •  Reducing Energy Use and Finding Alternative Sources of Energy

    Such as solar power and other sources, in distribution centers, offices and data hubs across the country

HDA Member Focus on Environmental Sustainability:


Our Advocacy Work on Behalf of Members 

HDA reviews key priority issues and advocates on behalf of its pharmaceutical distributor members in areas like standards, public policies and business processes. HDA members have a powerful, unique voice and perspective and an opportunity to help educate lawmakers and inform public policy.

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