How the Earthwards program helps J&J design greener products

[Editor's note: This is part of a six-part series on CSRwire about Earthwards, a Johnson & Johnson program designed to promote greener product development throughout the enterprise. Here, Al Iannuzzi, J&J's senior director of worldwide environment, health and safety, explains the Earthwards criteria and how the process was successfully adopted across all three sectors of J&J's business to promote a culture of sustainable product development.]

Companies often refer to sustainability as a journey, and innovation as a key driver in the sustainable product development process.

This is also true for Johnson & Johnson, where we created a formal process to spur greener product innovation called Earthwards.

Based on lifecycle thinking, the Earthwards process has been and will continue to be applied to an array of products from our consumer products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and diagnostics sectors. Products that successfully emerge from the Earthwards process are recognized as such only if they have achieved a greater than 10 percent improvement in at least three of 12 goals across seven impact areas: materials used, packaging, energy reduction, waste reduction, water reduction, positive social impact or benefit; and product innovation.

To date, 36 products have received Earthwards recognition.

While we have further to go to achieve the company's Healthy Future goal of 60 Earthwards products by 2015, the journey is teaching us how to better focus our efforts and infuse innovative thinking into our product development process.

Our five-year strategic roadmap, Healthy Future 2015, focuses on seven priorities designed for our businesses to achieve the greatest impact, including:

1. Advancing global health.
2. Safeguarding the planet.
3. Supplier sustainability.
4. Engaged, health-conscious employees.
5. Advancing community wellness.
6. Philanthropy measurement.
7. Transparency and collaborations.

All of our work on Earthwards supports Healthy Future 2015.

Next page: A bump in the road