A core tenet of Johnson & Johnson’s citizenship and sustainability commitments is our focus on safeguarding the planet. As my colleague Shaun Mickus recently discussed, our company has been guided by Our Credo since 1943, which is when the notion of sustainability got its formal start at Johnson & Johnson. Environmental responsibility is as important to us today as it was back then.
As head of environment, health, safety and sustainability at Johnson & Johnson, I’m accountable for ensuring our operations and products live up to the promise explicitly expressed in Our Credo: We must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources. This has been a powerful motivator for the people at Johnson & Johnson to focus on improving the footprints of our products, primarily by reducing the environmental impacts associated with their lifecycle.
In 2009, we developed and launched Earthwards®, which has subsequently become Johnson & Johnson’s companywide approach to product stewardship and sustainability. Today, the Earthwards® approach empowers our product teams to work together on identifying the most significant environmental impacts of individual products, continually innovate better solutions to address these impacts, and ultimately create more sustainable products for our customers.
When we launched Earthwards®, we set a goal to have 60 products Earthwards® recognized by 2015 – and as of today, we are almost there – a year ahead of schedule. In our most recent Citizenship & Sustainability Report, we reported having 55 products in our Earthwards® portfolio as of the end of 2013, accounting for more than $8 billion and nearly 12 percent of annual revenues. Behind all these products are some 250 employees across our Family of Companies who deserve the credit for having identified and implemented improvements that are helping to protect the environment and our natural resources – and move us within reach of our goal of 60 Earthwards® products.
One employee who comes to mind is Brian Quinn, a savvy, strategic thinker within Janssen, who had the tenacity and spirit to drive the Earthwards®recognition for SIMPONI® (golimumab), one of our inaugural Earthwards® recognized products. Another is Laura Mehaffey, a seasoned and thoughtful marketer, who pursued more renewable materials and a partnership with the Nature Conservancy for the new NEUTROGENA®Naturals line of products, which launched with Earthwards®recognition.
Most recently, I had the good fortune of hearing about Meredith Karow, a vocal and determined packaging engineer, whose passion for sustainability has been channeled toward reducing waste and the use of virgin materials across our Ethicon business. Meredith helped lead the STRATAFIX™ team through the Earthwards® recognition progress, which involved revamping the packaging used to ship the product to customers.
“Across our company, patient health will always be our top priority, but at the same time we can also work toward a healthier planet,” Meredith said. She acknowledged that making packaging changes is a big undertaking, but in doing so her team found that using recycled packaging materials didn’t compromise product safety. “For STRATAFIX™, we shifted to a post-consumer recycled paperboard – this new packaging meets compliance regulations, keeps the product safe and reduces our use of virgin materials.”
I’m proud of what we have achieved across our business units, and I am excited to reach the finish line on our path to 60 products. While we will celebrate reaching the milestone, we also know there is still – and always will be – more work to be done. I believe reaching this goal will open the door to new discussions about how to continue to honor Our Credo commitments and set the bar even higher – involving even more employees and infusing further innovative thinking into our product development processes.
To learn more about Earthwards® and our most sustainable products, please visit: earthwards.com.
Brian K. Boyd is the Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability for Johnson & Johnson. He has more than 25 years of progressive experience creating and deploying EHS&S strategy and programs, building stakeholder partnerships, and integrating energy and environmental sustainability into business objectives. Under Brian’s leadership, J&J has earned distinction as a corporate environmental leader by numerous investor, NGO, and media based ratings systems including Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Climate Counts, and Newsweek magazine’s annual green company ratings. .content