Biodiversity is the variety of life, and according to the Harvard School of Public Health, matters profoundly to human health. The roles that individual species and supporting ecosystems play in providing food, fuel, and medicinal compounds, air, water and soil purification services, and natural regulation of infectious disease, are critical to human health. Greater species diversity is imperative to ensuring sustainability for all life forms, and healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters. As biodiversity loss increases, concern is growing about the related health consequences, according to the World Health Organization.
As a global manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson has the potential to impact biodiversity in two main areas of our value chain -- the facilities where we make our products, and upstream in the places from which we source feedstocks for our ingredients. The impacts from our facilities tend to be minimal because our manufacturing and R&D facilities are primarily located in industrialized areas, away from natural or protected areas. Our wastewater and waste streams are managed in compliance with our internal standards and all applicable regulations. In addition to complying with our standards and regulations, we undertake thorough water risk assessments to understand our potential impacts on aquatic biodiversity. Finally, many of our sites also participate in local biodiversity activities within their communities.
To minimize potential sourcing impacts, we have established internal practices to guide our behavior and to ensure we are operating in compliance with the objectives of international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. For more information on our existing approach, see Respecting Biodiversity in our Policies and Statements, and EHS&S Governance.
We also manage potential upstream impacts through our responsible sourcing practices for palm oil derivatives and forest-based products. Our overall goal is full implementation of our responsible sourcing standards and verification of conformity to those standards in high priority areas. For more information, see Responsibility Standard—Forest-Based Materials & Products, Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing Criteria, and the Procurement & Supplier Management section of this report. GRI 304-2
In 2016, water risk assessments were conducted at all manufacturing and R&D locations. Included in these assessments were criteria for water stress and watershed health (including inputs classifying threats to amphibians, watershed pollution, biodiversity threat, and ecosystem vulnerability, using input from several external models and tools). The resulting ranking describes the general threat to freshwater biodiversity in the area around the facility. The Johnson & Johnson sites tend to be located in industrial areas where biodiversity impacts are minimal.
While our processes and programs aim to limit potential biodiversity impacts, many of our operations have ongoing efforts to protect and restore local habitats on or near their facilities. Examples of these efforts in 2016 include: GRI 304-3
For progress on our responsible sourcing practices, see the Procurement & Supplier Management section of this report.