Johnson & Johnson aims to remedy global trends with new 2020 targets

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is facing up to new megatrends, such as an aging population and an increase in climate-related deaths, by announcing new "Citizenship and Sustainability" goals for 2020.

Outlined in the company’s latest sustainability report, the 2020 goals will build on the progress made under Johnson & Johnson’s Healthy Future initiative, which established a range of environmental goals for 2015.

The new targets will see Johnson & Johnson strive to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050 against a 2010 baseline. The company has also set a 2020 target to produce and procure 20% of its electricity needs from clean sources with a 100% target for 2050, as well as conducting a 100% comprehensive water risk assessment of all manufacturing and research and development locations.

Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to upscaling sustainable products will also be strengthened under the new goals. A 2020 target has been set to increase the recyclability of all consumer product packaging in key markets by 90%. The company will also aim to source 20% of its revenue from new and existing products under its innovative Earthwards range.

“In developing our new Citizenship & Sustainability 2020 Goals we have broadened our view to consider not just the challenges of the business we are in, but of the world in which we operate,” Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive Alex Gorsky said.

“Global trends that could impact our ability to help people and the environment be healthier include: population growth, poverty and inequality, rising global instability, climate change, water and resource scarcity, human rights issues, and pressures to increase transparency.”

New trends

As research continues to unearth the worrying increase in deaths related to air pollution, the healthcare sector is under increased pressure to play its part in corporate responsibility while also tailoring its solutions to account for megatrends and issues outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as responsible consumption, clean energy but also good health and well-being.

With these trends at the core of Johnson & Johnson’s 2015 and 2020 goals, the company was able to achieve more than 70% of its targets. While the company was able to complete the majority of its goals tailored to health and well-being – such as WHO pre-qualification for disease prevention products and readily available HIV medicine in certain countries, it struggled somewhat in reducing its key footprints.

The 2020 absolute carbon reduction target of 20% has been passed on from the 2015 goals after the company managed a 9.8% reduction in five years. Johnson & Johnson also fell just short of its 10% water consumption reduction target, cutting water use by more than 7% across manufacturing and R&D locations.

A 10% reduction target for waste was also missed, with the company achieving a 2.9% reduction. However, Johnson & Johnson believes its new sustainable packaging and Earthwards range could placate the lack of movement in this area.

With absolute carbon emissions falling by just 0.2% compared to 2014, the company’s efforts to reduce water – which fell by 5% compared to 2014, and waste, which sat it a little more than 1% in 2014, is a sign that progress is still being made.

Completed goals

This progress was highlighted by the environmental goals that Johnson & Johnson did reach. It exceeded the 50MW target for on-site renewables, while the efficiency of its 28,000-strong fleet was also improved by 20%.

The company, which also joined the RE100 collaborative initiative, almost reached its 100% target to get all strategic supplier to report on sustainability, with 98% now complying. In regards to the Earthwards product range, the company exceeded its target of rolling out 60 products by 2015, with 80 products currently in the market.

Speaking exclusively to edie last month (July), Johnson & Johnson’s product stewardship lead Al Ianuzzi claimed that around 25% of the company’s 2015 sales came from new products introduced within the past five years.

Matt Mace

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