OUR STORY

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Chapters
  • Currently Viewing

    1886-1907

    Our Founding Values

  • Currently Viewing

    1929-1939

    The Great Depression

  • Currently Viewing

    1940-1970

    Our Credo

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    1975-1982

    Our Credo in Practice

  • Currently Viewing

    1990-Today

    Our Credo Today

Living Our Credo

Explore Johnson & Johnson's core values and discover how the company has shaped modern ideas about corporate social responsibility.

Chapter 1Our Founding Values

At the heart of Johnson & Johnson is a set of principles that first took root when the company was a young startup in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

1886

Johnson & Johnson was among the first companies to put corporate social responsibility into practice. From its founding, the company has been guided by a value system that prioritizes people over profits.

1887

Since its first years, the company relied on consumer trust and feedback to develop products and educational materials. Sterile surgical supplies, household products, and medical guides were all created with the public in mind.

1890

Since the 19th century, Johnson & Johnson has also pioneered employee benefits. At a time when industrial working conditions were often unfair and unsafe, the company provided onsite medical care, free educational classes, and subsidized housing for its workers.

1900

From its beginning, Johnson & Johnson has also cared for communities near and far. The company's legacy of disaster relief is built upon its founders' shared belief that the company's lifesaving products should be made available when disaster strikes.

Explore Our Early Disaster Relief

1907

In turn, the company’s dedication to community service inspired its employees to take action on a local level. Founded by a group of women employees, the Laurel Club was a volunteer organization that supported New Brunswick area families, veterans, and hospitals.

Chapter 2The Great Depression

Even during times of social unrest and financial hardship, Johnson & Johnson did not waver from its founding values.

1930

During the Great Depression, Johnson & Johnson was determined to keep its employees at work. While other companies folded or laid off workers and reduced hours to stay in business, prudent financial planning safeguarded jobs at Johnson & Johnson.

1932

When Robert Wood Johnson II, the son of the company's co-founder, became president, he increased wages, reduced work hours, and created new jobs to ensure that more employees could support themselves and their families during the Depression.

1933

Johnson wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt calling for a federal law to increase wages and reduce hours for all American workers. Their professional correspondence sparked a larger discussion about ideas that would become part of the New Deal.

1935

To persuade business leaders to follow his lead, Johnson put his ideas to paper, writing Try Reality. He advocated that business is more than profits; companies have a responsibility to consumers, employees, and society, especially during tough times, like the Great Depression.

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Chapter 3 Our Credo

In 1943, Johnson & Johnson published a formal declaration of its value system for the world to read.

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1940

By the 1940s, Johnson & Johnson had become one of the largest American producers of sterile medical, consumer, and military supplies.

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1943

On the eve of the company going public, Johnson met with its board of directors and presented Our Credo. This statement of corporate social responsibility formalized the company's commitment to its consumers, employees, and the community before its shareholders.

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1944

Johnson & Johnson went public and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Robert Wood Johnson II also published Our Credo, in hopes that other business leaders would adopt his philosophy to never sacrifice values for profits.

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1947

Three years later, Johnson published Or Forfeit Freedom, which expanded upon his philosophy to include the environment. In it, he called for long-term planning to conserve and sustain natural resources for both business and society.

Johnson's Environmental Advocacy

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1970

In the decades after Our Credo was published, it transformed into a living document, guiding the company's work, employees, and leaders.

Chapter 4 Our Credo in Practice

In a moment of crisis, Johnson & Johnson looked to Our Credo for guidance.

1975

By the 1970s, CEO James E. Burke was concerned with Our Credo’s relevance in the new era. So, he organized the Credo Challenge for the company to debate it. Johnson & Johnson emerged from these discussions more committed to the philosophy.

1982

Johnson & Johnson's dedication to the Credo proved critical in the early 1980s when someone contaminated Extra Strength TYLENOL® Capsules with cyanide, causing seven deaths in Chicago. The Credo guided the company's response; Johnson & Johnson prioritized public safety above all else.

1982

The company immediately issued mass-warnings through the media, recalled 31 million bottles of TYLENOL® worldwide, and offered replacement products free of charge. The response, which cost over $100 million, showed Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to public safety, helping to re-establish consumer trust.

1982

The company's scientists then set to work to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again. The first tamper-evident packaging was developed. Warning labels made it clear not to use the product if any seals were broken.

1982

By immediately putting consumer safety and public information first, Johnson & Johnson restored the TYLENOL® brand that consumers continue to trust today.

Chapter 5 Our Credo Today

The company's founding values still remain at the heart of Johnson & Johnson and all that it does.

Today, Our Credo continues to guide Johnson & Johnson's policies and practices for its consumers, patients, employees, and communities all around the world.

Johnson & Johnson’s small startup of just 14 employees in 1886 has grown to include more than 130,000 employees around the world today. Together, with its global partners, the company touches the lives of over one billion people each day.

Johnson & Johnson is committed to creating a culture of health and well-being for its employees and strives to empower each one to reach their personal best.

Johnson & Johnson understands the value of a healthy work-life balance. That's why its U.S.-based employees receive 17 paid weeks off after a birth or adoption. In 2017, the company introduced enhanced parental leave for employees worldwide.

Johnson & Johnson also understands that environmental sustainability is critical to human health. The company is designing recyclable products, reducing carbon emissions, and working towards running solely on renewable energy by 2050.

Through more than a century of change, Johnson & Johnson has upheld the principles expressed in Our Credo and championed corporate social responsibility, demonstrating that a modern corporation can thrive when it values people over profits.

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