Healthy people start with a healthy planet.
That’s why Johnson & Johnson is committed to improving the world we live in—in ways great and small.
In fact, the company has a legacy of social responsibility, dating as far back as its company Credo, written in 1943, that states: "We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well."
To that end, starting in 2010, Johnson & Johnson has been setting public Citizenship and Sustainability goals every five years, and tracking the progress made toward them.
In 2016, the company launched a new set of five-year objectives, known as the Health for Humanity 2020 Goals. The focus of the 15 goals: providing better access to healthcare worldwide, making the places we live and work in healthier, and teaming up with partners to achieve these commitments.
So far, Johnson & Johnson has made significant headway toward these goals, including producing and donating more than 160 million doses of mebendazole to help treat children at risk of developing infections from intestinal worms in underserved communities.
The company just debuted its new 2016 Health for Humanity Report, so we sat down with two company leaders who are deeply involved in its development and execution to find out more about their vision for helping to change the trajectory of human health for the better.
How Johnson & Johnson Is Helping Support People on the Front Lines of Care Around the Globe
Lauren Moore, Vice President, Global Community Impact
My job is to …
"I lead the Global Community Impact (GCI) team, which is responsible for strategic philanthropy, social innovation and employee engagement. We work closely with our operating companies and the Global Public Health team to develop initiatives and partnerships focused on health systems that can strengthen and support people on the front lines of delivering care: community health workers, nurses, midwives, surgeons, mothers and fathers, and you.
Why I'm focused on helping close the health information gap …
We’ve discovered that there’s a big gap between the people who need healthcare or advice on their health, and the actual health information. People talk about 'getting to the last mile' of care. Maybe you’re a pregnant mom, or you're sick and may need a certain treatment or vaccine. You need information or support, which could come from a professionally trained person, a doctor or nurse, a community health worker, or from an organization delivering information through your mobile phone.
What Johnson & Johnson is doing is looking to strengthen health systems by partnering with NGOs, as well as investing in social enterprises and others, to help close the gap. We understand that without informed, trained, skilled people on the front lines, we’re not going to be able to achieve our goal—which is transforming human health.
How we’re leading when it comes to improving global public health …
I think it is important that we pursue a number of approaches across the company to improve health. An example is our support of the documentary Unseen Enemy to help make people more aware of pandemics and epidemics. The film highlights the critical nature of health workers on the front lines of care—as well as features the power of individual actions, whether it’s getting a vaccine or washing your hands.
There's also our critical support of nurses through the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, and our deworming program for families in the developing world. Even though there’s not a commercial value to producing it, we worked with the FDA on a chewable version of a deworming treatment for kids who are unable to swallow the pill.
I think we have the most amazing pool of employees I’ve ever seen who are committed to the purpose of the company in a very authentic way. The opportunity to connect them to the values of the company through our social impact work is a remarkable one.
Very few companies have the deep history and the track record that Johnson & Johnson does of doing this kind of social impact work in an incredibly authentic and meaningful way by identifying issues, setting targets and achieving them. It was never a marketing program, or a public relations program. We have a role to play in helping to solve real problems in the world, and we will use our resources and our people to try to get that done.
How we can help meet the world's Sustainable Development Goals ...
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals set forth by the United Nations to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.
Our Health for Humanity 2020 Goals mapped well to five of the SDG target areas, so we built our SDGs on that base: global disease challenges, maternal and child health, global surgery, environmental impacts and gender equality. Johnson & Johnson has proven its dedication in these areas for many years—and has many, many years of experience setting targets and delivering on them.
For example, our 10-year-plus partnership with Africa-based NGO mothers2mothers is focused on reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Our work together has helped keep HIV-positive mothers healthy, and their babies HIV-free.
On the power of passionate employees ...
I often get questions about what's different about Johnson & Johnson. One piece is our remarkable employees. When I talk to our long-term employees, I often say, 'Wow, you’ve been here for 25 years, why have you stayed so long?' Every single person responds that it's because their values are a fit with the company’s values. Our Credo is an important part of their work experience.
I think we have the most amazing pool of employees I’ve ever seen who are committed to the purpose of the company in a very authentic way. The opportunity to connect them to the values of the company through our social impact work is a remarkable one, and I look forward to building even more of those opportunities in the future.”
How Johnson & Johnson Is Helping Improve Human Health Through Environmental Health
Paulette Frank, Worldwide Vice President, Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability
My job is to …
"I lead a team of Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability experts around the world who are passionate about creating healthy places where all people can live, work and play, as well as helping our more than 120,000 employees return home safe and healthy to the ones they love every day.
On the biggest health challenges today …
Typically, when people think of global public health threats, they don’t necessarily think about the environment first. But the World Health Organization has stated on multiple occasions that climate change is actually one of the greatest threats to public health that we’re facing.
Climate change can cause droughts and floods, which can result in food insecurity and malnutrition. And there is a lot of research that shows climate change is changing the way infectious diseases emerge and spread around the world.
How we can help the environment day to day …
Johnson & Johnson does so much on a big scale to help the environment: We've reduced greenhouse gas emissions and waste at our manufacturing sites, we've conducted water risk assessments for our sites, and our Earthwards® program embeds sustainability into the product innovation process. We've also ensured that 20% of our energy comes from renewable sources, thanks to a 100-megawatt wind farm in Texas.
I don’t believe we can change the trajectory of human health if we don’t change the trajectory of environmental health. You can't have healthy people on a sick planet.
On a smaller scale, recycling at home is probably something that comes to mind for most of us, but many people tend not to recycle personal care products they use in the bathroom consistently. Our Care To Recycle® program is based on data showing that while people may report high recycling rates, when it comes to recycling in the bathroom, those rates fall dramatically. So for the past couple of years, we’ve focused on promoting the recycling of personal care products used in the bathroom.
When it comes to sustainability, it all adds up.
On the power of partnerships …
Improving the health of our planet and our people is bigger than any one company. We have to hold hands and figure out ways to collaborate and get the work done faster.
For example, we are founding members of the Closed Loop Fund, which provides local municipalities with access to capital they need to implement recycling programs.
We are also supporting the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group—a network of the world's 90 megacities that are committed to climate leadership and action—to help fund programs that will link climate action with the benefits to air quality and human health.
Together, we're working to drive positive climate health programs on a big scale.
On changing the future of health …
I don’t believe we can change the trajectory of human health if we don’t change the trajectory of environmental health. We’ve solved a lot of illnesses—and we’re well on our way to preventing a lot more—but if we don’t also solve the holistic ecosystem health issues that are out there, those human health interventions will not be sustainable.
You can’t have healthy people on a sick planet."