Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth and, as defined by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, includes diversity of ecosystems, genes and species, and ecological practices that support them. There are serious threats to biodiversity in many areas of the world, and concern about global biodiversity loss has emerged as an issue with potentially negative health and economic consequences. We believe preserving biodiversity and ensuring the sustainable and fair use of biological resources is an important and shared responsibility.
As a health care company, Johnson & Johnson is mindful of the importance of conserving biodiversity; nature has long played a role in the discovery of new medicines and ingredients that improve health care products. We agree with the intent of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which promotes conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity and outlines guidance related to the acquisition and utilization of natural and biological resources.
Johnson & Johnson contributes to the conservation of biodiversity using internal standards and goals to guide our behavior, and indirectly through our partnerships with conservation organizations.
- Our Family of Companies considers the biodiversity risks and impacts arising from its operations. For example, when we added a new building in Switzerland a few years ago, we ensured that the shadows of the facility did not impact the spawning activities of amphibians in a nearby creek, and we included a “green roof” to attract wildlife. Today, all our new buildings must be certified to LEED green building standards, and we are certifying some of our existing buildings using LEED requirements.
- Johnson & Johnson companies are also mindful of biodiversity in the supply chain. In addition to our policy on green buildings, we have Forest Products Purchasing Guidelines developed in consultation with the World Wildlife Fund.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and through this relationship, we have committed to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil to protect the biodiversity that has been threatened by less sustainable farming practices.
Our Goals and Biodiversity Activities
- We also establish long-term environmental goals for the organization every five years. These have included reducing water consumption, purchasing more forest-friendly paper for office and packaging uses, and decreasing carbon emissions.
- Our businesses have biodiversity conservation plans that include activities ranging from the restoration of wetland habitats to tree-planting to removal of invasive plant species.
- Johnson & Johnson supports several environmental organizations that aim to conserve or restore biodiversity, including a partnership with World Wildlife Fund and USAID that integrates health, population and environmental needs of rural communities in Kenya, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Other organizations dedicated to conservation that we support include the Student Conservation Association, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund, the Wilderness Society and the Trust for Public Land. We were significant sponsors of biodiversity research coordinated by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, which resulted in the 2008 publication of Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity.
Protecting Biodiversity Benefits
- Johnson & Johnson supports a framework that enables health care companies to search for and develop novel compounds to treat and cure disease and improve quality of life while respecting the environment and the interests of the owners of these biological materials.
- We believe there are opportunities for new health care solutions derived from natural resources. At this time, our companies only have a few limited activities with business partners searching for and studying new natural products on our behalf. Initial screening of this sort requires a small sample size and does not negatively impact the environment. Because of the complexities and long timelines for research and development, it can be very challenging to predict the value of new natural materials, but we are committed to the principle of engaging in conversations about protecting the interests of the owners of these materials.
Last updated: August 2010