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Q&A: Paulette Frank on advancing environmental health equity

7th September 2022 Paulette Frank, Chief Sustainability Officer, Johnson & Johnson 3 min read

1. Climate Week NYC 2022 is all about ‘Getting It Done’. When it comes to driving climate action across your value chain, what is J&J doing to get it done?

At Johnson & Johnson, our decades-long commitment to climate action is aligned with our vision for a sustainable future - one in which healthy lives and a healthy planet are within reach for all people.  We are focused on improving the environmental footprint of our operations, our value chain and our products so we can have a positive impact on planetary health and human health while supporting the resilience of our business for generations to come.

This includes our ongoing transition to 100% renewable electricity and carbon neutrality in our global operations. Today, more than 50% of our global electricity comes from renewable sources, including more than 50 on-site systems in 14 countries and 15 completed deals for off-site renewable electricity.

We are also working with suppliers to reduce our upstream value chain emissions through programs like Energize, a platform we launched last year with nine other pharmaceutical companies to help increase access to renewable energy within our supply chains by educating interested suppliers about renewable energy adoption.

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2. You mentioned the link between human health and environmental health. How is Johnson & Johnson specifically addressing climate-related health impacts?

As the world’s largest healthcare company, we have an opportunity to have a positive impact on the people we serve who are experiencing the impacts of climate change on their health – especially those most vulnerable who face disproportionate risks in part because of where they live and in part because they lack the resources to mitigate the impacts that are coming.

With like-minded partners, we are working to address challenges related to climate change and health equity. This includes our support for the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship, which empowers doctors of color to be leaders in education, advocacy and patient care, as well as our work with Americares and Harvard Chan C-CHANGE to strengthen the resilience of U.S. healthcare clinics that serve people with limited access to care in communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change

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3. What motivates your dedication to all that’s happening at the intersection of human health and environmental health?

There are three things motivate me and my colleagues at Johnson & Johnson -

Our Credo, which says, "we must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources.” Like many companies, we are working to reduce our carbon footprint at the rate and scale needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  

Our Purpose, which is to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity.  Our purpose inspires us to look beyond our own operations, beyond what we source and what we produce, to have a positive and immediate impact on the health of the people we serve.

Our heart, science and ingenuity, which J&J employees bring to bear on global health challenges. For more than 135 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life, and I am proud that commitment now includes our work to address climate change and health equity

4. Johnson & Johnson is hosting a session at Climate Week NYC 2022, what can people expect and what message do you want to leave them with?

I’m really looking forward to being back at Climate Week NYC (in person!) and meeting leaders, innovators and visionaries who are committed to “getting it done.” This will be Johnson & Johnson’s fifth year hosting an event focused on the connection between human and environmental health.  We take pride in the role that we play in shining a light on this intersection and bringing people together to share ideas and catalyze solutions. 

Join us on September 21st – in person or virtually – to hear from healthcare providers and advocates who are working on the frontlines of climate change and health equity and taking meaningful action to care for both people and the planet.

Find out more details about Johnson & Johnson’s event now.