Assessing Our Impacts
To improve the sustainability of our products, we look at each stage of a product’s lifecycle – from design to end-of-life. The lifecycle impacts are reviewed and opportunities to drive improvements are considered at the design, procurement, manufacturing and marketing stages of a product’s development.
Once a product undergoes a lifecycle impact screening and assessment, products teams are then encouraged to collaborate with sustainability experts to implement and validate recommended improvements. An Earthwards® recognized product has made at least three significant improvements across the seven areas.
Within our Earthwards® recognized product portfolio we have made more than 290 significant improvements across the seven impact areas. Among these improvements include approximately 85 improvements in material selection, 70 improvements in packaging materials and 19 improvements in waste reduction. These three key areas demonstrate some of our greatest innovations and most significant improvements.
As a global producer of thousands of products, the use of paper and paper-based packaging is one of Johnson & Johnson’s largest impact areas and we are making improvements to reduce our carbon and waste footprints, as well as protect forests. The Earthwards® approach encourages teams to consider product stewardship as part of their efforts to drive excellence in packaging design and process areas, and our packaging choices take into account a number of considerations such as safety, quality, legal compliance, performance, cost and environmental footprint.
Following the 2014 launch of our Responsibility Standard– Forest-Based Materials & Products, which established a set of expectations for purchased products such as packaging, office paper, printed marketing materials and wood-based furniture, we focused our 2015 efforts on engaging suppliers of our forest-based materials. As a result, we have gained increased visibility on the country of origin of these materials, as well as on supply chain and deforestation risks. Suppliers demonstrate varying levels of ability to respond to inquiries, so continued focus in engaging this key stakeholder group is required to fully realize our standards.
Our progress in 2015 includes:
Developed long-term plan to confirm content, country of origin, compliance and purchasing preference for recycled and FSC-certified materials.
Printed marketing materials
Launched cross-sector program in the U.S. Gained visibility to the country of origin of all our commercial paper products, as well as supply chain and deforestation risks. Includes commercial paper stock grades that all meet environmental sustainability certifications (Forest Stewardship Council—FSC and/or Sustainable Forest Initiative). Paper stocks maintain full chain of custody, providing transparency and tracking of commercial paper purchases. Also included are stocks that offer up to 30 percent post-consumer waste.
Office copier paper
Greater than 80 percent of the materials purchased contained recycled content and/or certified content and over 55 percent are FSC certified.
These considerations have helped Johnson & Johnson focus efforts on reducing the weight of our packaging, sourcing certified content, designing for recyclability and continuing to remove PVC from packaging configurations. Surgicel®, a material used to control post-surgical bleeding, is a great example of this process. By following the Earthwards® approach, Johnson & Johnson’s product team determined that folding the mesh used in the product’s packaging, instead of rolling it, would increase space utilization by 60 percent, and opted to switch to a box made of 100 percent responsibly certified sourced paper. In return, hospital customers using Surgicel® have less packaging to dispose of and a greener product on their shelves.
Additionally, we are on a continual pursuit of ingredients that improve our products and reduce their environmental impacts. In 2010, we launched GAIA, a product formulation tool that measures the environmental impact potential of ingredients in new formulations. The tool was developed collaboratively with outside experts and has been reviewed with a wide range of stakeholders, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The GAIA tool allows our formulators to include environmental performance as a criterion when selecting ingredients in new product development by creating environmental “scores” for many of the most commonly used ingredients. Based on similar systems, such as the U.S. EPA’s Design for Environment program and the REACH program in the European Union, this tool helps us create products with fewer environmental impacts and measure and track our progress overall.
In our Pharmaceutical segment, the use of green chemistry continues to increase yields while reducing waste generation and material use. An example of this is ZYTIGA® (abiraterone acetate), used to treat prostate cancer, which is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the fifth most common cancer overall. By applying green chemistry principles in the formulation of this product, Janssen doubled the process yield and realized significant reductions in raw material use, water use and hazardous waste generation.