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Human Rights

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ESG Policies & Positions
Our Human Rights Journey
Highlights from Johnson & Johnson's long history of taking action to respect and promote human rights in our own operations and across our value chain
  • 2006

    Implemented the first version of Responsibility Standards for Suppliers

  • 2012

    Implemented the first Enterprise Human Rights Statement

  • 2016

    Established the Human Rights in the Supply Base Program

  • 2019

    • Established the Enterprise Human Rights Governance Council
    • Conducted an enterprise-level human rights assessment to identify priority focus areas

  • 2020

    • Embedded an annual living wage assessment into our internal compensation processes
    • Developed and implemented a Human Rights Employee Learning and Education Course, translated into 26 languages
    • Created a stand-alone human rights complaints category in Our Credo Integrity Line

  • 2021

    • Conducted an assessment of the potential risk of excessive work hours for Johnson & Johnson employees
    • Developed a long-term human rights strategic framework

Johnson & Johnson has a longstanding commitment to respecting human rights that is embedded in Our Credo and reflected throughout our organization in the way we conduct business. Our approach to human rights is outlined in both our Position on Human Rights and our Responsibility Standards for Suppliers; it is also reflected in our related ESG Policies and Positions and annual regulatory disclosures. The Johnson & Johnson Enterprise Human Rights Governance Council (EHRGC) leads our global approach to human rights due diligence and management in our own operations and supply chain. The EHRGC is comprised of a cross-functional group of senior leaders representing legal, procurement, supply chain, global public health, human resources, sustainability, ESG ESG Environmental, social and governance and government affairs organizations.

Enhancing our strategic approach to human rights: 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), representing a timely opportunity to reflect on the evolution of international efforts to respect human rights in company value chains and to consider ways in which we at Johnson & Johnson can further strengthen our approach to human rights. To achieve this, our EHRGC engaged BSR to support Johnson & Johnson to evolve our human rights strategy. Together with BSR, we conducted an enterprise-level gap analysis of our human rights approach in relation to the UNGPs, reviewed our existing priority focus areas and emerging human rights topics, and gathered insights from interviews with senior leaders at Johnson & Johnson and external stakeholders. With these inputs, we held internal workshops with key stakeholders to further develop and define a long-term strategic framework that will shape our human rights priority focus areas and action plans.

In 2021, BSR worked in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson to create a human rights strategic framework that was informed by both external and internal stakeholder insights. The framework further evolves Johnson & Johnson’s approach to human rights and will serve as a key tool to guide how the Company integrates and operationalizes human rights across its business.
Jenny Vaughan
Human Rights Director, BSR

Human rights in our own operations: We continued to strengthen our approach to due diligence in order to identify, assess and address potential and actual human rights impacts across Johnson & Johnson’s operations globally. We conducted human rights audits at key sites using the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) best practice guidance and measurement criteria. In addition, our Human Resources organization implemented a program to enhance fair labor practices in our own operations, focused on living wage and hours of work:

  • Living wage: Since 2020, we have embedded an annual living wage assessment into standard compensation processes with the aim for all employees in our operations globally to receive pay that is competitive in their local markets and sufficient to support a sustainable standard of living for them and their families. The annual assessment in 2021 was undertaken, with living wage rates provided by BSR, and fewer wage gaps were identified compared with the 2020 analysis. As a result, a small number of wage adjustments were made.
  • Excessive hours: In 2021, we examined the potential risk of excessive work hours for employees in our operations. Our assessment included an evaluation of hours worked in specific sites. The findings from this assessment will inform the development of a global guideline to limit work hours to 60 hours per week (including overtime) for wage employees, in line with International Labour Organization conventions.
30% of employees worldwide are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Our Position on Employment and Labor Rights articulates our expectations for labor and employment practices at our sites, including preventing forced labor and child labor and non-discrimination, among other matters. Our operating companies are required to respect each employee’s right to make an informed decision, free of coercion, about membership in associations and/or labor unions. Employees have the right to organize or join associations and bargain collectively, if they so choose. The Company and its operating companies are required to bargain in good faith with these associations.

Human rights in our supply base: All Johnson & Johnson suppliers are expected to adhere to our Responsibility Standards for Suppliers, which includes expectations relating to human and labor rights, among other topics. In 2021, we took a range of actions to identify and address human rights impacts across our supply base, such as:

  • Enhancing our focus on human rights due diligence in an effort to integrate it more deeply into our procurement practices through our Working Group on Human Rights in our Supply Base;
  • Conducting in-depth category and commodity human rights assessments in order to gain greater multi-tier visibility in high-risk supply chains for improved human rights impact management; and
  • Increasing our supplier training and capability-building efforts, including the launch of our Onward Sustainability Program, a platform where we share good practices on a range of topics such as human rights, and a post-audit engagement process to encourage suppliers to conduct human rights due diligence.
To learn more about human rights in our supply base, see section: Responsible Supply Base.

Enhancing our human rights grievance mechanism: The Johnson & Johnson Our Credo Integrity Line—a grievance mechanism available to all employees, suppliers and other business partners—offers a secure mechanism for anonymous reporting, where permitted, of suspected concerns or potential violations of our policies or the law, including potential human rights violations. In order to ensure that we appropriately and efficiently address human rights within Our Credo Integrity Line, we created a separate category for those who wish to make an inquiry or report a complaint that involves a potential or actual human rights impact (see section: Ethics & Compliance for our 2021 Our Credo Integrity Line results).

Building employee knowledge and capabilities: All Johnson & Johnson employees have a role to play in respecting human rights. Our Foundational Human Rights Learning and Education Course was rolled out in 2021 in 26 languages to targeted employees globally. In recognition of Global Human Rights Day in December, we promoted this course to all employees to drive further awareness and uptake. In 2022, the course will be mandatory for employees in Procurement, and we will continue to target the training to additional employees who play a key role in delivering on our human rights commitments.

External engagement and collective action: For ongoing support in upholding human rights, we work in collaboration with specialist human rights organizations, and we are a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program and of BSR’s Human Rights Working Group. In 2021, we worked with Shift—a leading center of expertise on the UNGPs—to gather insights and build on our knowledge of grievance mechanisms and access-to-remedy best practices, which will inform our approach going forward. Johnson & Johnson is also a member of both industry-wide and issue-specific forums that share good practices and drive collective progress, including the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative, AIM-Progress and the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

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