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A Culture of Health for Business

Every person has the opportunity to live a healthier life. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working with GRI to improve the health and well-being of employees, families, and the communities in which they operate.

 About the Project

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has committed itself to a vision of working alongside others to build a Culture of Health where everyone has the opportunity to live a healthier life. The private sector, particularly large corporations, has a tremendous influence on culture and is integral to achieving high social and health standards for all stakeholders, including employees. Increasingly, shareholders, investors, boards and executives are prioritizing business values and citizenship, as well as financial measures, knowing that these affect public perception, brand and long-term sustainability. And, in order to build a Culture of Health, the private sector and its stakeholders must be engaged.

A growing number of companies recognize their ability to contribute to a Culture of Health and have used their reach and influence to improve the health and well-being of employees, families, and the communities within which they operate. By recognizing the importance of health and well-being across the value chain, businesses can reap the rewards with greater productivity and higher retention, for example. Measures, metrics and indicators play a key role in supporting corporate efforts. They promote an understanding of the concept, inform strategic thinking and planning and provide a basis for assessing progress, gaps, and opportunities.

The GRI Standards are a powerful tool for the private sector to accrue, track and report environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues including health-related topics. The GRI Standards include specific health-related disclosures that may fall within the RWJF’s defined areas of “health”, namely GRI 401: Employment 2016, GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018, and GRI 416: Customer Health and Safety 2016. Other GRI Standards contain disclosures which are relevant for understanding an organization’s impact on health through, for example, its air emissions, waste generation and disposal, or marketing and labelling practices.

RWJF recognizes that the GRI Standards and its global uptake provide a good starting point to build a Culture of Health in which companies play an integral part. 


 Project Goal

The Culture of Health for Business project is a partnership between RWJF and GRI. The project was initiated by the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings, since dissolved, in 2017. The three organizations agreed to continue the project under the leadership of GRI. 

This project sets out to understand the scientific and technical basis for attributing positive health and business outcomes to an array of business practices – internal programs, policies, benefits, community partnerships and the like – that may or may not be primarily directed toward improvements in population health (i.e., Culture of Health Business Practices, or COHBPs). The project identifies suitable health measures for businesses and investors to use within those COHBPs and contextualizes these measures to promote understanding and use (i.e., the Culture of Health for Business Guiding Principles). Surveys of corporate health disclosures and of health measures in existing ESG reporting frameworks and research methodologies provide reference points for this work. 

RWJF seeks to disseminate these health metrics to inform decision-making and enable the private sector to create shared value. RWJF and GRI are collaborating on this project because of their shared interest in the private sector contribution to health through sustainability reporting.

 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

RWJF is the largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health in America. Since 1972 it supports research and programs targeting some of America’s most pressing health issues – from tobacco use to improving access to quality healthcare. 

RWJF is working to build a Culture of Health in America that goes beyond the healthcare system to focus on the complex social factors that influence health, well-being and equity based on conditions tied to where we live, work and play. RWJF seeks to install a new norm with collaborators from all sectors that recognizes health as the bedrock of personal fulfilment, the anchor of community well-being and the fuel of national prosperity, thereby creating a society that provides for all individuals an equal opportunity to enjoy the healthiest lives possible. 

For more information about RWJF and its commitment to a culture of health visit and

 Advisory Committee

We are grateful for the contributions of the following individuals who form the project’s Advisory Committee (AC):

  • Roy Ahn, Vice President, Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Chris Cassell, Director of Corporate Sustainability, Lowes
  • Anita Chandra, DrPH, Director, RAND Justice, Infrastructure and Environment, RAND Corp.
  • Brenda Colatrella, Executive Director, Corporate Responsibility, Merck 
  • Emma Grande, Manager, BSR
  • Adam Kanzer, Managing Director of Corporate Engagement, Domini Impact Investments
  • Erica Lasdon, Vice President, ESG Sr. Research Analyst, Calvert Research and Management 
  • Bob Mann, President, Sustainalytics 
  • Shaun Mickus, Global Director, Social Business Practices, Johnson & Johnson
  • Elena Philipova, Global Head ESG Proposition, Thomson Reuters 
  • Matt Ryan, Proposition Manager, Thomson Reuters 
  • Vivian L. Towe, PhD, Sr. Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation 
  • Matt Trowbridge, MD, Assoc. Prof. of Emergency Medicine & Public Health, University of Virginia
  • Mark Tulay, Director, CECP Strategic Investor Initiative
  • Chris Walker, Director North America, WBCSD
  • Rob Ward, JD Candidate, Cornell Law School, formerly of GISR 
  • Allen White, PhD, Tellus Institute
  • Martin Whittaker, PhD, CEO, JUST Capital 
  • Adrienne Wong, Sr. Analyst, JUST Capital 
  • Kelly Worden, Health Research Manager, US Green Building Council

While the project team endeavoured to achieve consensus, participation in the AC does not imply endorsement of the Stakeholder Consultation Draft and Supplementary Materials which are the sole responsibility of the project team.

 Project Team

Responsible for management and implementation of the project are: 
  • Malcolm Fox, Project Co-Director, formerly of GISR
  • Soledad Mills, The Dragonfly Initiative
  • Asthildur Hjaltadottir, Project Co-Director, Director Program Implementation & Regions, GRI
  • Alyson Genovese, Director/Head of Regional Hub USA/Canada, GRI 
  • Eszter Vitorino, Head of Capital Markets Engagement, GRI 
  • Esther van der Hoeven, Senior Coordinator Program Development, GRI

General questions about the project A Culture of Health for Business? Contact Esther van der Hoeven at the GRI Secretariat on