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SC Johnson Reveals How It Selects Ingredients to Protect Human Health, Environment

Image credit: SC Johnson

People can now see, in detail, what goes into choosing each of the ingredients that are used in SC Johnson products. In its newly released 26th annual sustainability report, The Science Inside, the company shares the scientific criteria and process behind its Greenlist™ ingredient selection program, as well as its progress on its commitments to transparency, the environment and improving lives.

SC Johnson’s Greenlist™ program has guided the company’s product development for nearly two decades. It is centered around a peer-reviewed, four-step evaluation of its potential impact on human health and the environment. Grounded in data collection, the Greenlist™ program looks at both hazard and risk to select the ingredients the company uses, and at what concentration, if at all. The company also maintains a “Not Allowable” list of over 200 unique raw materials in roughly 90 material categories and over 2,400 fragrance materials, all of which meet legal and regulatory requirements, but do not meet SC Johnson standards.

SC Johnson 2017 Sustainability Report, The Science Inside

The company has been disclosing its ingredients on since 2009, and became the first CPG company to disclose product-specific fragrance information to customers in 2015. In May 2017, SC Johnson announced its plans to disclose 368 skin allergens that may be present in its products, despite an absence of regulations requiring allergen transparency. Last fall, SC Johnson expanded its ingredient transparency program to Asia Pacific. The program now reaches more than 5 billion consumers and gives them access to a comprehensive list of ingredients for more than 5,300 products sold in 52 countries. 

“We know consumers today are more interested than ever in the products they bring into their homes,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “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.”

As for its environmental achievements, SC Johnson has made continual improvements to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste generated by its operations while increasing renewable energy use:

  • Emissions - Since 2000, SC Johnson has achieved a 55% reduction in GHG emissions (indexed to production) – an additional reduction of 5% over the past two years.
  • Waste - Since 2000, SC Johnson has achieved a 79% waste reduction at manufacturing sites (as a ratio to production) – an additional reduction of 3% over the past two years. Six more manufacturing sites joined the company’s list of sites that send zero manufacturing waste to landfills, bringing the total to 17 sites in the 2016/17 fiscal year. More than a dozen SC Johnson sites now carry the zero overall waste to landfill distinction.
  • Energy - The company increased its global use of renewable energy to 35% in 2017 from 32.7% in 2016, which it sources from a combination of the purchase of renewable energy credits and on-site wind, solar and biogas generation at facilities in the US, Netherlands, China and Indonesia. Three company-owned sites now run on 100% wind energy, the latest being a plant in Bay City, MI.

Reducing packaging waste was not highlighted in the 2017 report as it was in the 2016 report, but SC Johnson acquired Method and Ecover – brands well-known for their sustainable packaging efforts – in September.

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Meanwhile, the company exceeded its goal to donate $15 million in product and resources to efforts to help families protect themselves from Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases and hit a few other milestones towards its commitment to “improve lives for families around the world.” 2017 marked the company’s 80th year of giving 5% of all its pretax profits to charities, and the 58th year of its charitable foundation, SC Johnson Giving, Inc. The company continues to match donations to educational institutions, which have now reached $15 million over the last 20 years.

Collaborative efforts included preserving 10,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest in partnership with Conservation International and working with The Coca-Cola Company and Society for Family Health Rwanda as part of the EKOCENTER program to provide basic goods to families in need.

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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