CVS is taking steps to reduce the use of pesticides that could be harmful to pollinators.

In a new pollinator and pest management policy, the company - known for its neighborhood pharmacies and one of the nation’s top grocery retailers - said it was “strongly encourag[ing] all suppliers of our store brand food and beverage products” to avoid using certain crop protection chemicals.

Among them: Organophosphates, a group of neurotoxic chemicals that include chlorpyrifos, food tolerances of which have been revoked, and diazinon; neonicotinoids, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

“Pollinators, including birds, bats, insects, and especially bees, are vital to ensuring the health and dependability of the global food supply system,” CVS said. “However, research shows pollinator populations around the world are in decline due to a combination of factors including pesticides, climate change, habitat loss, poor nutrition, and pathogens."

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CVS’s policy also says “the application of any chemicals or pesticides should be done in a manner consistent with the most current local and federal laws, regulations, and guidelines.”

Friends of the Earth hailed the move, noting in particular that CVS said it would encourage adoption of organic practices wherever possible.

A collection of ag groups and pesticide manufacturers recently announced their latest annual campaign "to promote best management practices when using neonicotinoid products on farms and urban landscapes," in order to minimize impacts on pollinators and other wildlife.

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