Access to clean water is essential for improving human health and well-being. Businesses also rely on high quality water as a key input in manufacturing operations. Growing population, economic activity and consumption, combined with weak water governance in many regions around the world, are leading to increased competition for water and pose threats to water quality. Climate change is expected to exacerbate this problem, with increasing frequency of droughts and floods contributing to water scarcity.
At Johnson & Johnson, we recognize our role in protecting this truly shared resource. We respect the Human Right to Water, which – as defined by the United Nations – entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, accessible and affordable water, and we acknowledge that our actions can impact both water quality and quantity. To this end, we are committed to responsible water use and to meeting our Company’s water demand without limiting the availability or quality of water resources to others.
As drivers of water challenges lie outside any one company’s span of control, and because water is a local issue, finding sustainable solutions is not clear-cut. To address these challenges, our water stewardship strategy is based on the following key priorities:
- Improving water use efficiency across our operations by reducing water demand and increasing water reuse;
- Ensuring compliance with local wastewater discharge requirements and our internal wastewater quality standards;
- Prioritizing water management actions using a risk-based approach that accounts for location-specific water risks at our sites worldwide;
- Reporting publicly on our performance and progress.
Our Environmental Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S) Standard for water and wastewater management requires that facilities comply with either the local treatment standards or our Standard, whichever is more stringent. Our Standard also sets forth clear responsibilities for addressing water conservation, drinking water supply management and storm water management. Johnson & Johnson has been a participant in the CDP Water program since its inception in 2010, and in 2017 received a "B" rating from CDP for our water efforts. For information about our management approach, see EHS&S Governance.
At the end of 2017, our water use volume was 11.50 million m3. We continue to implement innovative water-savings initiatives at our facilities around the world, with total volume of recycled and reused water reaching 0.91 million m3, which represented 7.9% of our total water demand in 2017.
As part of our Health for Humanity 2020 Goals, we committed to evaluating our water risks at all manufacturing and R&D sites and to implementing resource protection plans at the high-risk sites. We believe this risk-based approach will help us develop more targeted water management plans across our operations. In 2016, we achieved our annual target to assess 100% of sites using an in-house-designed risk assessment model for water stress, which is a combination of several criteria, including several water stress models (EFETAC, AqueductWRF, EarthStat) and site-specific data. Based on that work, in 2017 the 38% of 32 sites identified as high-risk began developing mitigation plans. For more information on our water risk assessment methodology and results, see our 2016 Health for Humanity Report.
2020 Goal UpdateReduce our impacts on climate and water resources.TargetConduct a comprehensive water risk assessment at 100% of manufacturing/R&D locations, and implement resource protection plans at the high-risk sites.Progress38% of all high-risk sites identified in water risk assessment process developed mitigation plans and have budget allocated to start implementation in 2018.StatusOn track
* Where relevant, prior year data have been restated, reflecting improvements in data quality over time.
** The increase in total water use in 2017 is explained by inclusion of our Vistakon, Ireland and Zuchwill, Switzerland sites in our water withdrawal reporting. In the previous years, groundwater withdrawals related to once-through-cooling at these sites were not included because these practices were installed as energy conservation measures, and therefore were granted an exemption from our corporate water use reduction goals. We are re-including these sites in our water withdrawal reporting to provide full clarity and transparency.