We rely on natural resources to make the products that millions of people use every day—everything from life-saving medicines and innovative medical devices to adhesive bandages and baby lotion. But the place from which we’ve been getting those resources—planet Earth—can’t keep up with the demand. If trends continue, by 2030 we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us.1 The solution won’t come from simply consuming less. As a business, we aspire to move from linear processes to a circular one. To this end, we must continuously re-imagine how we operate and develop products to eliminate waste and use resources more efficiently.
We recognize each of our products has a footprint, whether it is the energy used to operate a medical device or the materials required to package a consumer product. To improve the environmental performance of our products we developed EARTHWARDS®, a process that defines how we address the environmental and social impacts of our products, and engages development teams in designing innovative and more sustainable solutions across a product’s lifecycle, from formulation and manufacturing to product use and end of life. For more information on EARTHWARDS®, see page 34 of our 2015 Citizenship & Sustainability Report.
As part of our Health for Humanity 2020 Goals, we set a goal to increase the percent of revenue represented by EARTHWARDS®-recognized products.
Using EARTHWARDS®, our internal cross-functional teams collaborate—sometimes with suppliers—to identify and quantify improvement opportunities across our value chain in seven key areas: materials, packaging, energy, waste, water, social and innovation. Using lifecycle thinking, we screen product impacts at the category level; and opportunities to drive improvement are considered at the design, procurement, manufacturing and marketing stages of a product's development. At the product design stage, we seek opportunities to integrate green chemistry principles, meet consumer preferences for the materials and ingredients used in our products, and implement sustainable packaging solutions. At the end of product life, we are working to encourage recycling of product packaging and reprocessing of used equipment.
We strive to improve all our products, but only products with the greatest improvements receive EARTHWARDS® recognition. To attain recognition, a product must achieve significant improvement (10 percent or more) in at least three of the seven improvement categories. The product is then reviewed by a board of internal and external experts to determine if it warrants EARTHWARDS® recognition.
To foster new ideas and generate sustainable innovation, we continue to implement our Sustainability Accelerator Grants Challenge, designed to challenge Johnson & Johnson employees to jump-start the next big sustainability idea that can help more people in more places live healthier lives. The challenge incentivizes employees to submit their ideas in the areas of waste, environmental health, and sustainable product design.
For more information about our management approach, see EHS&S Governance.
Since 2009, 932 products have achieved EARTHWARDS® recognition, representing $11.5 billion, or approximately 16 percent of Johnson & Johnson revenue in 2016, a 24 percent increase over 2015. In 2016, 18 new products were recognized.
Our portfolio of EARTHWARDS®-recognized products currently reflects a broad range of improvements, most of which go above and beyond the minimum requirement of 10 percent improvement.
These improvements have resulted in the following footprint reductions:
In 2016, we continued implementation of segment-based product stewardship plans; each business segment has targeted specific areas and projects to pursue, with consistent focus on materials and packaging areas across all three business segments.
Select winners of our 2016 Accelerator Grants Challenge who received funding to foster sustainable innovation include:
Awards and Recognitions for Product Stewardship:
1 Global Footprint Network
2 Data have been adjusted to reflect divestitures.
3 Improvements are tracked starting the first full calendar year after a product is recognized.