8 Ways SC Johnson is Helping Continually Raise Standards for a More Transparent World
Back in 1975, Sam Johnson made a groundbreaking decision for our company. With scientific evidence mounting that Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were affecting the ozone layer, Sam announced that we would remove them from all our aerosol products worldwide. This was more than a decade before the international treaty that required doing so.
Eliminating CFCs was the right decision for the environment and SC Johnson, and it also set an important precedent for us: When it came to our product ingredients, we would monitor new research, act when needed and be transparent about our choices.
Nearly 50 years later, we are still delivering on that commitment to a more transparent world. Here are eight ways that we have continued to raise the bar:
- Understanding the science: By the 1990s, we were regularly evaluating the safety and environmental profile of ingredients and had created a “brownlist” to eliminate those that did not live up to our standards. In 2001, we formalized our SC Johnson Greenlist™ programme to help us choose ingredients to better protect human health and the environment.
- Making the tough choices: Sometimes following the science means difficult choices for the business – like when our Chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, opted to remove Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) from Saran Wrap® in the early 2000s. Doing so affected product performance, but it was the right thing to do and, as Fisk said, gave us “a surer sense of who we are as a company and what we want SC Johnson to represent.”
- Committing to continuous improvement: Today, every ingredient in every SC Johnson product goes through a science-based, four-step evaluation that looks at both hazard and risk. Our criteria include chronic human health hazards, long-term environmental hazards, acute risks to human and environmental health, and other potential effects.
- Helping consumers find information: We launched our first ingredient transparency website more than a decade ago in 2009. Today, WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com provides ingredient information for more than 10,000 products in 35 languages. We also list our standards and the ingredients we will not use.
- Advocating for high standards: Throughout the 2010s, SC Johnson worked with lawmakers to develop improvements to U.S. chemical and safety regulations. With our support, new legislation in 2016 added requirements for safety determinations before chemicals are brought to market and increased transparency by reforming how information is protected and shared.
- Bringing transparency to fragrance: In 2015, we became the first major company to provide product-specific transparency about fragrance ingredients, sharing more than 99.9% in most products. This means rather than just listing “fragrance,” we detail the components that make up the fragrance. It is important since many fragrances are a mix of as many as 50 different materials. Then in 2018, we took it a step further and increased our product-specific fragrance disclosures sharing fragrance ingredients down to.01% of the product formula.
- Setting a new standard on allergens: While hundreds of substances can create a skin allergy response, most countries do not require allergen transparency at all. Those that do often focus on just the most common 26 allergenic substances. In 2017, SC Johnson launched an industry-leading skin allergen disclosure programme which includes product-specific disclosures of 368 potential skin allergen ingredients and fragrance ingredients.
- Offering straight talk on chemistry: Many people assume that natural chemicals are better than synthetic chemicals, but both can be responsible choices. If not harvested sustainably, using a natural ingredient could lead to negative impacts like deforestation. On the other hand, sometimes a natural ingredient is a great choice. See how we make informed choices.
Together, we believe these actions help foster a better world. As our Chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, has said, “For us, transparency is a matter of principle. We are interested in helping people make the best choices for their families.”