Using our voice and partnering power for good
At Johnson & Johnson, we understand that our opportunity to drive positive change extends beyond our own operations. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, we know that impacts on the environment are impacting human health and that climate change is a global public health threat. These challenges are bigger than any one company or organization, so we are working with like-minded partners and change agents around the world to identify, support and share solutions to issues that matter to our company, to our communities and to our planet.
We focus our partnership work on three areas: Climate and Health Equity; Forest Health and Infectious Diseases; and Access to Nature and Mental Health. Our approach includes supporting research, education, advocacy and impact-driven interventions to that aim to deliver both near-term and long-lasting change.
It becomes clearer every day that when it comes to protecting our health, we are all in this together. Our partnership with Johnson & Johnson began at our founding and has been essential to the growth of our rapidly growing movement to advance climate solutions for health and equity. Together, we are raising awareness that climate change is a health emergency, but that it’s also a health opportunity. Seizing that opportunity starts with creating solutions for patients who are most at risk and for patients whose health has suffered disproportionately from environmental and climate harms.
Raising Awarness for Climate-Related Health Equity
According to scientific reports, climate change has disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities. Our ongoing partnership with the Medical Society Consortium for Climate & Health (MSCCH) has helped raise awareness across professional medical communities on how climate change impacts specific patient populations. With our support, MSCCH identifies physicians that are interested in the intersection of climate and health, then trains them to be advocates so that they can help their communities develop science-based public policies that are protective of health and the environment.
In 2020, we expanded upon our partnership by launching a joint initiative with MSCCH and the National Medical Association (NMA), the largest and oldest national organization representing the interests of more than 50,000 African American physicians and their patients. This new initiative will help recruit and educate climate advocates within NMA to help protect their communities from the disproportionate health impacts of climate change. Through this partnership, we created the first fellowship for physicians of color focused on Climate and Health Equity.
Protecting Forests and Human Health
The world’s forests serve many critical ecosystem functions, including being one of our great carbon sinks. They are also home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and may help to regulate disease transmission. According to leading researchers, deforestation is increasingly exacerbating both climate change and the emergence of new infectious diseases. Today, land use change can also be linked to more than 40% of emerging infectious diseases.
We are working with partners to support efforts to better understand the connections between changes in land use and human health outcomes.
Supporting Research on the Connection Between Access to Nature and Mental Health
Science shows that exposures to a healthy environment can reduce stress and improve mental health and feelings of wellbeing. At Johnson & Johnson, we are investing in programs and working with partners to examine this connection, looking at both the impacts of environmental factors on mental well-being, as well as the healing and health potential of environmental exposures.
With The University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment, a center for interdisciplinary research focused on understanding the interactions among ecological, social and economic systems, we developed a fellowship role to explore connections between exposure to nature and mental well-being.
We also recently commissioned a white paper co-written by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), studying the correlation between the environment and mental health in Europe.
And we are expanding our standing relationship with Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health and their involvement in mental health projects, like Johnson & Johnson’s Science for Minds Initiative. This includes our support of a project with Harvard to develop globally-relevant metrics that can be used to measure the impacts of climate change on mental health.
Enabling Long-Term Solutions for Air Quality and Human Health
According to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of people living in urban centers are exposed to unsafe air. Working with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of nearly 100 megacities that are committed to climate leadership and action, we developed a toolkit to help city leaders undertake assessments of climate actions that could positively impact air quality and public health.
Over a five year period, we helped support projects across 30 cities around the world to assess the health benefits of climate and air quality actions, which have the potential to positively impact 74 million people. This resource will continue to be available for anyone to access, providing valuable information for city mayors and planners.