J&J’s 5-year goals aim for big emissions cuts, CSR boosts

The last time Johnson & Johnson set five-year goals for sustainability performance, it blew its CO2 reductions target out of the water: Instead of meeting its goal of 7 percent lower in 2010 over a 1990 baseline, J&J cut CO2 emissions by 23 percent.

Today, the company unveils its next set of goals, and in addition to raising the bar on environmental sustainability, J&J is now targeting broader health and social benefits.

Among the 15 goals that J&J hopes to achieve by 2015, the environmentally focused ones are:

• 20 percent absolute reduction in facility CO2 emissions;
• Increase onsite renewable and clean- technology energy capacity to 50 megawatts;
• 20 percent decrease in fleet CO2 emissions per kilometer driven;
• 10 percent absolute reduction in water consumption;
• 10 percent absolute reduction in total waste disposal;
• Require strategic suppliers to have two or more publicly reported sustainability goals;
• Source all palm oil and derivatives from certified sustainable sources.

This time around, J&J is folding in significant commitments around global health, employee engagement and increased transparency. Among the goals the company is setting for those areas are:

• Provide affordable access to HIV and tuberculosis therapies in least-developed and middle- income countries;
• Make 200 million doses of anti-intestinal worm medication mebendazole available to infected children in more than 30 countries each year;
• 90 percent of employees have access to “culture of health” programs;
• 80 percent of employees have completed a health risk assessment and know their key health indicators;
• Launch 100 community health education initiatives across 25 countries;
• All major brand websites share product sustainability information;
• Economic and sustainability reporting is enhanced online and provided for key markets.

“Today the world is facing a number of complex social and environmental challenges, from the millions of people around the world who lack access to adequate healthcare and medicines, to the rising global demand for natural resources in the face of a burgeoning population,” William C. Weldon, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement. “Whether it’s the private, public or nonprofit sector, we must all play a role, preferably in collaboration, to ensure a sustainable and healthy future for generations to come.”

Part of the transparency goals included in today’s news is the launch of a corporate responsibility website, JNJ.com/responsibility, which will give insight into how J&J is working to achieve its commitments, where it’s succeeding and where it’s falling short.

The site, for instance, lays bare the wins and losses in its Healthy Planet 2010 Goals. Although the company far surpassed its CO2 goals, other areas were less successful.

For instance, despite setting a 30 percent reduction of fleet CO2 emissions, J&J managed only 16 percent — no small feat, but still far short of the goal. And the company is quite straightforward in how it fared on its last round of compliance goals:

Goal: Zero accidental environmental releases; zero environmental violations.
Actual: Not achieved. We had 10 accidental environmental releases and 57 environmental violations. We are experiencing an upward trend in the number of non-compliances. While all non-compliances were minor, and most were related to waste management or air and wastewater permit infractions, we have refocused our attention on compliance via additional training and reinforcement of our management and assessment processes.

With the release of the company’s next set of sustainability goals, we’ll see if the company can again surpass expectations, or if the next set of goals will be harder to achieve, now that the low-hanging fruit have been gathered.

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