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In The Science Inside, the US company breaks new ground in transparency about how it chooses its ingredients
Family company SC Johnson has long been an industry leader and trendsetter in transparency. Based in the USA, the 132-year-old company generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally, and sells products in virtually every country around the world. SC Johnson believes in having a positive impact on the communities in which it operates and the world at large and it is dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment. Since 1937, the company has given 5% of all pre-tax profits to charity.
Its 26th annual Sustainability Report, The Science Inside, has just been released and it shares publicly the criteria inside the company’s Greenlist™ ingredient selection programme. The Greenlist™ programme helps the company continually improve its products by choosing ingredients to better protect human health and the environment. This latest report builds upon the company’s commitment to tell the whole story about the ingredients it uses and the rigorous science that informs those choices. People can now see, in detail, the care that goes into choosing each of the ingredients that are used in SC Johnson products.
The Greenlist™ programme has guided the company’s product development for nearly two decades. Every ingredient in every SC Johnson product goes through the rigorous programme, which is a peer-reviewed, four-step evaluation of its potential impact on human health and the environment. Hazards and risks are assessed when selecting the ingredients the company uses and at what concentration, if at all. The programme is grounded in best-in-class data collection and driven by the company’s commitment to continually improve its products.
SC Johnson also maintains a list of ingredients that are banned from its products: the “Not Allowable” list. It includes more than 200 unique raw materials in roughly 90 material categories, and over 2,400 fragrance materials. These materials all meet legal and regulatory requirements and are often used by other companies in the industry, but they do not meet SC Johnson standards.
Championing ingredient transparency
In May 2017, SC Johnson broke new ground by announcing its plans to disclose 368 skin allergens that may be present in its products. The list of allergens was published on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com and the site now lists allergens on a product-specific basis. This move goes beyond regulations in the European Union and the USA, where there are no rules requiring allergen transparency.
Last autumn, the company expanded its ingredient transparency programme to Asia Pacific. The programme now serves more than 5 billion consumers, providing access to a comprehensive list of ingredients for more than 5,300 products sold in 52 countries.
Continued environmental leadership
Since 2000, SC Johnson has realised a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases, indexed to production. Over the past year, the company has continued to make strong progress to reduce its environmental footprint, achieving zero manufacturing waste to landfill status at more than 65% of its manufacturing facilities. This puts it ahead of schedule in meeting its goal to send zero manufacturing waste to landfill from its factories by 2021.
The company also set an aggressive goal of further reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 15% by 2020 from the base set in 2015. It has already exceeded that target and was honoured with a Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management Goal Setting by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry.
For the past 13 years, SC Johnson has used renewable energy sources around the world to power its facilities. Globally, 35% of the company’s energy use in 2016/17 came from renewable sources. In May 2017, the company announced that its manufacturing site in Bay City, Michigan, which manufactures Ziploc® brand storage bags, became its third company-owned site to run on 100% wind energy for electricity.
SC Johnson is building stronger relationships with its consumers through greater openness and transparency. “We know consumers today are more interested than ever in the products they bring into their homes,” says Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO. “What matters most is the trust consumers place in our company and that they count on our products to be effective and safe. We believe it’s our responsibility to give people the facts so they can make informed choices, and we hope other companies will join us.”