When cross-functional leads from the Nicorette® brand worked together to create innovative solutions and savings for the company, the business gained valuable insight on the necessity of inter-departmental collaboration for sustainability.
It’s one thing to have a mission, but it takes a committed and collaborative team to make it a reality. The functions of marketing and manufacturing are both crucial to delivering sustainability gains, and yet at times there can be competing priorities.
Nicorette® is a nicotine-replacement brand that Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health markets outside the US. At Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, the marketing director and manufacturing plant lead closely collaborated after meeting at a company sustainability summit to inspire their teams to come up with ideas to drive sustainability.
Sustainable Brands™ asked the dream duo — Bill Twomey, Senior Director of Global Franchise for Smoking Cessation, based in Switzerland; and Jody Lodge, Managing Director of the Consumer Health site in Helsingborg, Sweden — to share their experiences of working together and embedding a sustainability mindset in their respective teams.
How do you work together to drive sustainability?
BT: We look at the supply chain in its entirety to identify E2E (end-to-end) opportunities to improve sustainability. This ranges from global demand and capacity forecasting to ensuring timely investments in new equipment. We partner on how to quickly bring innovation to market, and work together to overcome challenges. For example, launching Nicorette QuickMist SmartTrack™ — the first OTC, connected device to help quit smoking — faced delays and challenges due to COVID-19-related supply chain shortages of a few key elements. We needed to work closely together to meet the UK launch date.
How do you embed sustainability into your teams?
BT: Due to the great work of Jody’s team in achieving a CO2-neutral site in 2017 and a long legacy of engaging to support tobacco control efforts globally, we advocated for Nicorette to be one of the company’s eight leadership brands to be at the forefront of delivering on the Healthy Lives Mission.
As a result of this, we committed to ensuring every lifecycle management (LCM) or new product development (NPD) program has a sustainability focus and E2E mindset to unlock win/win opportunities. We actively ask our teams how we can improve on these two measures within every project scope.
JL: From a site perspective, it is part of our DNA. A dedicated energy champion manages energy reductions as part of daily business, focusing on alternative energy sources and reducing consumption. Periodically, we host crowdsourcing events to drive sustainability. Our current challenge to the organization is, “Hur kan vi minska vårt miljöavtryck?” which is Swedish for “How can we reduce our environmental footprint?” We also built long-term relationships with the municipality and local energy suppliers.
Tell us about a logistics project you worked on together to reduce environmental impact.
JL: Recently, a group of associates worked out how to reduce both CO2 emissions and transportation costs by double-stacking the bags of gum base delivered in our supplier’s trucks.
Gum base, the main ingredient in Nicorette gum, is delivered in large bags via truck. The original truck load fit 22 bags, equaling 11.2 or 14.5 tons, but the maximum load capacity is 22.5 tons. Simply by double-stacking the bags in the trailer, the team realized we could transport 42 bags with each trip and fully utilize the load capacity of every truck. To meet safety requirements, they came up with the ingenious solution to secure the load from movements during transport with inflatable cushions. This initiative reduced the number of transport journeys and costs, with CO2 emissions reduced by 94,848 kg/year.
How much have CO2 emissions been reduced overall in recent years?
JL: In 2010, we emitted just over 5,000 tons of CO2 per year at the Helsingborg site. In April 2017, that number was reduced to 0, while our production volumes have grown year on year.
What other ideas have your teams implemented to help the site lower their impact on the planet?
JL: There have been many. The City of Helsingborg just recognized our offices as the most environmentally friendly company for 2020. A few of the reasons for this recognition include:
On transport, we installed 16 CO2-neutral electric car-charging stations for use by employees. Two hybrid pool-cars are available to transport our associates back and forth between the two Helsingborg sites. We installed over 200 locked bicycle storage places for our employees; and we were recognized as the most bicycle-friendly company in the city of Helsingborg. And all external lighting is powered by LED lights.
In catering, all leftover (prepared, unserved) food from our restaurant is portioned, frozen and sold to employees at a discounted price. This results in zero food waste, and also helps associates save time by not having to cook for themselves. Any leftover fruit is donated to the local zoo.
Our caterers use the third-party Klimato app; and we include the Klimato scores on the daily menu, so that our associates can understand the impact of their choices on the planet.
Do you ever have conflicting needs or opinions? How do you balance the priorities of each function?
BT: I think there is always a healthy tension between commercial (e.g. maximizing assortment/sales drivers) and supply chain (e.g. managing complexity/inefficiency). That’s okay, as long as you can have fact-based conversations about what is best — both for people who want to stop smoking and the business. Jody and I have a shared mission: saving the lives of smokers and delivering value to Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.
We respect each other’s challenges and will support where we can. Jody will build on commercial ideas and challenge how they can be bigger; and I will seek support from commercial and supply chain leadership to improve the capability and profitability of the Helsingborg site.
JL: It has been a great partnership — built on mutual respect and a passion for delighting our customers, and enabling them to stop smoking.