During my marketing class this semester, we learned about the 1982 Johnson & Johnson Tylenol recall. J&J spent more than 100 million on the recall and re-launch of Tylenol, but the company placed its customers first by recalling 31 million bottles of Tylenol capsules and offering replacement products in safer tablets free of charge. Since that incident, J&J has continued meeting its customers’ needs. J&J is not only a model for corporate responsibility, but it has also become a leader in environmental initiatives. Ranked as the 6th “greenest company”, according to Newsweek’s Green Rankings, I was interested to learn more about what J&J has done.

After much searching through Bucknell’s library databases, I came across many interesting articles from the ABI database.  J&J was honored with the Presidential Award for Corporate Leadership in 2006. J&J created the Greenlist™ process, which formalizes the classification of raw materials used in J&J’s products according to their impact on the environment and human health, allowing J&J scientists to only use the materials that are environmentally “better” and “best.” One example was reformulating the Windex(R), the leading glass cleaner in the market, from a 0 rated solvent to a 3 rated solvent by reducing the volatile organic compounds in the Windex(R) formula. As a result, customers get an environmentally responsible product because the Greenlist™ goes beyond regulatory requirements to meet SC Johnson’s own high standards.

In 2009, J&J was recognized by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) for its continuous commitment to environmental and sustainability leadership, especially its renewable energy initiatives. 36% of J&J’s total worldwide electricity usage came from renewable energy, thanks to cogeneration with landfill gas, wind power and biofuels. Its patented Greenlist ™ process, as I mentioned earlier, then increased its “better” and “best” materials up to 47% of its total materials.

Its 2011 annual report, 360 Degrees of Greener Choices, shared its 2011 objectives which were either met or succeeded. Their accomplishments included:

Reducing its GHG emissions in the U.S. by 27% vs. 2005 (surpassed the goal of 8%)

Announcing to build wind turbines at its largest worldwide manufacturing facility, enabling the plant to produce 100% of its electrical energy on-site

To source 40% of company’s electricity from renewable sources

The annual report even listed its 2016 goals. Here are some (but not all) of them:

Having already increased use of ingredients rated “better” or “best” from 18 percent in 2001 to 51 percent in 2010, increase to 58 percent by 2016.

Increase post-consumer-recycled content across product packaging to 30 percent.

Decrease packaging across product lines by 5 percent.

Offset 30 percent of virgin material use through innovative partnership and packaging advances.

Decrease the company’s upstream footprint by 8 percent.

Having already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from their worldwide factories 26 percent since

2000, the company wants to reduce emissions from its operations by another 6 percent.

Increase the company’s use of renewable energy to 44 percent of total electricity use worldwide.

Without a doubt, J&J is a worldwide leader in environmental efforts and sustainability. As demonstrated in its 2016 objectives, the company continues to strive for the highest standards of environmental responsibility. After further researching J&J’s positive contributions to the environment, I now even have greater respect for the firm.

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2 responses »

  1. Paul Martin says:

    Kate, it definitely looks like you did your research. I always wonder with companies like this if their emphasis on green initiatives is partially a factor of the industry they are in. When I think of the company name “Johnson & Johnson” I usually instantly associate it with the term “babies” (and “clean” as a close second). Obviously, it would be a little hypocritical if a company in this type of industry didn’t have good health/safety/environmental standards. But do you ever think that companies in other industries might not feel as “pressured” to pursure such environmental goals? As far as Johnson & Johnson’s 2011 objectives, I thought it was pretty crazy that the largest worldwide manufacturing facility produces 100% of its own energy. That couldn’t have been an easy goal to accomplish. I wonder how long it will take them to offset the cost of this project against what they will save on energy costs.

    • Kate says:

      Paul, I definitely think that companies in other industries do not feel as pressured to pursue such environmental goals because government regulations have not yet been implemented. In class week, we discussed whether BP should have set specific company iniatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or wait for government regulations. Many companies probably see environmentally-friendly goals as poor investments of time and energy, especially if government regulations go in the opposite direction of the companies’ initiatives. Luckily for J&J, their initiatives have also helped their business!

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