Senior management at San Francisco-based McKesson believes what's good for the planet is also good for the corporate bottom line.

According to its recently released 2008-2009 Corporate Citizenship Report, McKesson recognizes the resources it uses "are neither limitless nor free." The company's commitment to environmental sustainability "focuses on both reducing our impact on the planet and ensuring our company's long-term financial viability."

In McKesson's fleet operations, that commitment includes green initiatives that could save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2010 alone.

A global healthcare services and information technology company, McKesson employs 32,000 people in the U.S. and around the world. FY2009 sales total $106.6 billion. Its 1,765-unit fleet comprises approximately 600 hundred passenger vehicles and 700 full-size vans, in addition to heavy-duty tractor-trailers.

Green Fleet Programs Detailed

Among McKesson's overall corporate environmental sustainability initiatives, which have produced $100,000 in overall savings in just eight months, two program areas involve fleet.

Transportation and Emissions. The company seeks ways to curb greenhouse gases (GHG) produced not only by employee business travel, but also by the vehicles that distribute its products.

Energy Efficiency. Reducing total energy consumption helps shrink McKesson's carbon footprint while also trimming costs.

To reduce fleet-generated greenhouse gas emissions, McKesson introduced more fuel-efficient vehicle options for its U.S. pharmaceutical sales fleet, a move expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 20 percent and potentially save the company approximately $300,000 in FY2010.

The company's vehicle selector now offers the more fuel-efficient four-cylinder Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion sedans and four-cylinder Ford Escape and Jeep Patriot SUVs, according to fleet manager Anna Haberkorn.

Driver Training Piloted

McKesson focused on changing driver behavior in another fuel-efficiency strategy. During the past six months, the company piloted a "driving green" training program with sales staff in its ZEE Medical subsidiary, based in Irvine, Calif. ZEE Medical is a van-based provider of occupational first aid and safety products, training, and services.

To measure the eco-driving training's effectiveness, safety, fuel consumption, fuel efficiency, and fuel costs of 47 drivers were tracked for four months.

For this group, fuel consumption decreased 3 percent and 1,202 metric tons of CO2 equivalents were avoided. Company officials said the training results fell short of expectations; a cross-functional team will examine the findings and develop a more targeted program for FY2010.

McKesson's non-fleet initiatives include developing reusable product packaging and reducing water use, waste products, and GHG emissions from company buildings. The company also now promotes use of teleconferencing and videoconferencing to reduce GHG emissions and contain travel costs. McKesson also tracks CO2 emissions data from employee business airline travel.