Sustainability Report

Message from the Chairman and CEO

From SC Johnson's 2016 Public Sustainability Report

Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO 

I was a teenager when my dad banned chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from SC Johnson products worldwide. The U.S. government had not yet confirmed there was reason to be concerned about CFCs, but there was enough evidence emerging that Dad felt the move was needed.

That’s the kind of decision that stays with you; at least, it stayed with me. Dad picked what was right over what was required. And he didn’t do it quietly — he held a press conference in New York City and urged the industry to move along with him.

This notion of going beyond what’s required has been a fundamental part of SC Johnson ever since. We make mistakes just like any other company, but we work hard to take action when it’s needed on behalf of the people who use our products and the industry we represent.

And when I look back at the past year, this theme is a steady drumbeat behind all our actions. From continually increasing ingredient transparency to providing support for families in need, we worked hard to go beyond.

A NEW DIALOGUE ON TRANSPARENCY


In February, our Glade® Fresh Citrus Blossoms collection became the first line from a major consumer packaged goods company to disclose 100 percent of fragrance ingredients down to the component level. This went significantly beyond those that disclose fragrances in aggregate, since fragrances — whether created or essential oils — contain tens or even hundreds of individual components.

Even more exciting to me personally, with this launch we also opened a dialogue about disclosure and “natural” products. It’s become trendy for people and companies to claim that their products are better because they are “natural” or contain “natural fragrances.” But the reality is that all fragrances, including essential oils, are complex mixtures of chemicals and natural doesn’t automatically imply better.

To hide behind marketing language of natural is, in my mind, to greenwash and to deny the scientific facts. We want the discussion about the facts to happen, so people can make informed choices and choose what is best for them and their families.

MAKING INGREDIENT INFORMATION MORE ACCESSIBLE

This year we expanded our ingredient disclosure program, launching it in Europe. SC Johnson already was going further than many other companies by disclosing product ingredients, including fragrance ingredients, on our whatsinsidescjohnson.com site in North America. Since May, we have added 29 European countries and have 24 languages, with more to come.

Companies in Europe have listed product ingredients on websites for many years to comply with the law. But they haven’t been easy to access or use. In fact, a survey we conducted suggested less than a third of consumers in Europe believe they have sufficient information about ingredients in cleaning products and air fresheners.

So we wanted to go beyond European regulatory requirements and do more. It was a significant investment, but it was the right thing to do, and we intend to expand the model to Asia and Latin America as well. But, transparency won’t stop here. You will continue to see more from SC Johnson, including a closer look at our internally developed Greenlist™ criteria as well as the safety and environmental profiles of our ingredients.

HELPING FAMILIES IN NEED

Perhaps the greatest opportunity to go beyond this year has been in our commitment to fighting mosquitoes that may carry disease. As the world’s largest producer of pest control products, we have long felt the responsibility to help protect families from mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry. The emergence of the Zika virus added a significant and dire sense of urgency in 2016.

We ramped up our efforts on many fronts — from increasing production of insect repellents at our plants around the world, to launching a global website to educate about mosquito bite prevention, to committing at least $15 million in product and resource donations this year to support those in need.
 
As a father myself, I wish the Zika virus, as well as malaria and dengue, would just disappear. The effects these diseases have on families are devastating. But as long as the threat is there, I’m grateful that we can put our decades of mosquito research and expertise to work and try to help.

It would be easier not to take these steps — not to push boundaries on transparency, or invest in disclosure, or give away products in a year when demand is so high. But our commitment for generations has been to do what’s right, not just what’s required, and that’s a commitment I’m honored to share with the people of SC Johnson.

When we focus together on going beyond, there are many exciting opportunities ahead.

-H. Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO

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