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Rethinking our packaging to deliver easier, more sustainable products

Rethinking our packaging to deliver easier, more sustainable products

Following on from plastic-free July, we take a look at our environmental sustainability efforts, and argue that what’s good for the planet can be good for business too.

We can’t achieve Janssen’s goal of “creating a future where disease is a thing of the past” without first taking steps to protect the health of our planet.

As part of Johnson & Johnson, at Janssen we understand that human health and environmental health are fundamentally linked. Healthy people need a healthy planet. But environmental impacts are increasingly affecting people’s health and well-being, and climate change is a global public health threat. With our resources and breadth, we are taking action to positively impact planetary health and support the resilience of our business for generations to come.

Our Credo, written in 1943, states that “we are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community”. J&J has been setting and achieving carbon reduction goals for more than two decades, and we are continually striving to improve the environmental footprint of our products, our operations, and our value chain. We have an opportunity to improve the environmental footprint of the products we make – products that people around the world rely on every day.

We’ve just released the 2021 Health for Humanity Report, which showed our progress against our Health for Humanity 2025 climate goals. These goals focus on transitioning to renewable electricity and carbon neutrality in our global operations, while also working with our suppliers to do the same. We’re putting sustainable design solutions into our product innovation process, and we’re making packaging easier for patients to recycle.

And let’s talk trays. Where once we used plastic trays to hold some our drug delivery devices, we’ve now introduced packaging made from injection-moulded pulp or PIM – a biobased material of mainly pulp, starch and water. PIM hadn’t been used before in pharmaceutical industry packaging, and so needed extensive testing and evaluation to get the necessary certifications and approvals. But PIM trays have now replaced plastic trays in all our markets. And they can be disposed of through regular cardboard recycling waste streams, available in most countries, which is a significant breakthrough.

We aim to convert all our self-injectable device platforms to PIM trays by 2025. From design and formulation, through raw material sourcing and manufacturing, to packaging and delivery, product use and end-of-life, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the environmental impact throughout a product’s lifecycle. Some of the steps are small. Some, only tiny pieces of a very big puzzle. But many of the products we’re looking to upgrade are very common, so the impact of even a small innovation can be huge – both for our business AND our planet.