Janssen’s EMEA group chairman Jane Griffiths on the dynamic new business models that are helping society and the bottom line

Sustainability and innovation go hand in hand. Recent research by Deloitte concludes that companies that pursue sustainability are 400% more likely to be considered innovation leaders. Meanwhile, those striving for innovation are creating new, dynamic business models that are both profitable and sustainable.

With this in mind, companies across all sectors, both large and small, are incorporating sustainability into their business strategies. Encouraged by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, these companies in search of innovative solutions to pressing environmental and social issues are seeing impactful results — for society and the bottom line.

Take the auto industry, for example. Improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions are core to achieving sustainability; cars like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive andTesla are 100% electric, releasing virtually zero emissions while boasting sleek, modern designs. Coupled together, innovation and sustainability are also helping car makers break traditional business models. BMW’s Drive Now initiative is a car-sharing service in urban centres that has successfully reduced pollution whilst improving congestion and noise pollution in cities. Besides being a profitable project and boosting BMW’s revenues, it has also strengthened the BMW brand as one of the world’s most sustainable companies in 2016.

But it’s not only the automotive industry that is affected. In June, I attended the Responsible Business Summit in London, where I participated on a panel that explored how sustainability and business innovation are converging for leading companies and start-ups in Europe.

One example was Fairphone, whose CEO, Bas van Abel, presented the world’s first ethical smartphone designed with social values, a handset that embraces supply chain traceability sourcing, sustainable design and social entrepreneurship. Fairphones are built with a modular design and spare parts so it’s easy for users to repair the device at low cost, going against the grain of traditional thinking. And consumers are responding: so far, there are more than 100,000 Fairphone users, and Fairphone plans to produce a further 100,000 units of its new model this year alone.

Johnson & Johnson aims to create a new vision for health
Image Credit: DFID/Russell Watkins

This year, at Johnson & Johnson, we announced our Citizenship & Sustainability 2020 goals, with the aim to create a new vision of health – one that makes societies and everyone, everywhere healthier. We believe this unified vision will drive innovation in our business — from the ideas we generate to the products we make, to the habits we create. According to a McKinsey study setting aggressive goals and having a focused strategy are among the most critical factors for successfully implementing sustainability.

An example of our impact is the Earthwards® approach, which we use to engage product development teams to embed sustainable design across a product’s lifecycle.By 2020, we’ve set a goal to ensure at least 20% of our revenue comes from Earthwards®-recognised products. In 2015, we added 80 products into our Earthwards® portfolio, valued at over $9bn in revenue.

We also launched the Social Impact through Procurement Programme (SIP) in the UK this year, designed to support job creation and social change in under-served communities and allocating £15m (3%) of Johnson & Johnson’s UK procurement spend with social enterprises by 2020. By implementing this programme, we hope to show how business innovation can help create healthier, more sustainable local communities.

To further align our business impacts with the world’s road map for progress, we recently announced our support for the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and are focusing on five areas where we are uniquely positioned to create scalable impact. For example, to combat global disease challenges, we have set a five-year target to impact 175 million people with J&J solutions that prevent control and eliminate global diseases.

A doctor in Pakistan is part of global drive to eradicate disease
Image Credit: DFID/Russell Watkins

What is clear is that it is no longer enough to focus only on the obvious places to integrate sustainability; rather there is a need to assess the entire business cycle for opportunities to innovate — from products, to services, to investments, to the way we think about day-to-day work. In order to reach impact potential, sustainability must be an integrative part of business strategy and make way for breakthrough innovations. How is your company using innovation to integrate sustainability into the business?

Main Image Credit: Janssen Global Services, LLC 2016


Jansen  pharmaceuticals  innovation  SDGs 

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