SC Johnson will list all ingredients in cleaning products

January 29, 2014

6 Min Read
SC Johnson will list all ingredients in cleaning products

150529-sc_johnson_ingred_2.jpgIn a bold industry leadership move that affects 99 million U.S. households,(1) Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson today announced that SC Johnson is continuing to go beyond regulatory requirements and is voluntarily leading by providing ingredient information for its home cleaning and air care products such as Windex(R), Shout(R) and Glade(R).

"As a family company, listening and responding to consumers is SC Johnson's top priority," said Johnson. "Today's families want to know what's in the household cleaning and air freshening products they use in their homes. Making information about the ingredients in our products readily accessible and easy to understand helps our consumers know they can continue to trust our products."

An Innovative Approach to Ingredient Communication
Chairman and CEO Johnson also announced today that SC Johnson will surpass others in its industry by implementing an innovative and expansive ingredient communication program. "Consumers want transparency, and we're committed to providing it," said Johnson. "First and foremost, that means information that's clear, always honest and easy to understand. And second, it means making that information available through a variety of readily accessible channels."

SC Johnson's ingredient transparency will build substantially on an industry right-to-know initiative announced in late 2008. In that voluntary effort, companies would list ingredients - excluding dyes, fragrances and preservatives - online, on product labels, via toll-free number or using some other non-electronic means.

SC Johnson applauds this responsible move by industry, and wants to take the initiative further - and that decision has a significant impact considering that the typical U.S. home includes five SC Johnson household brands, such as Windex(R), Pledge(R), Glade(R), and Scrubbing Bubbles(R) among many others. The company's program includes several leadership advances:

Information will be available through not one but three means – a dedicated web site (, the company's toll-free number (1-800-558-5252) and on product labels that will be phased in for all air care and home cleaning products.

SC Johnson intends to list all of its ingredients - an unprecedented move that includes dyes, preservatives and fragrance ingredients. Fragrances will be shared by listing all ingredients that could potentially be included in the fragrance. This approach helps protect the proprietary details of the specific formulation of individual fragrances, which are a trade secret and competitive advantage for SC Johnson and its supply chain.

While the industry initiative focuses on English-language communication, SC Johnson will populate its ingredient web site in both English and Spanish, with the Spanish-language information being added in the second half of 2009. Additionally, SC Johnson Canada will be joining the initiative in the next year, adding Canadian products and providing information about them in both English and French. This will extend the consumer reach by approximately 11 million.

"SC Johnson just raised the bar for the entire cleaning products industry," said Erin Thompson Switalski of the environmental health group Women's Voices for the Earth. "The consumers we represent have been waiting for a company to provide full ingredient disclosure - SC Johnson's new policy is a testament to their commitment to transparency and accountability."

SC Johnson's effort will be rolling out from now through January 2012, with continually increasing information being available on labels, the web site and through the company's consumer hotline. All air care and home cleaning products will be included by 2012.

Easy Access with a Consumer-Friendly Web site
In support of its commitment to transparency, this week SC Johnson launched, the innovative new web site that will offer easy-to-access and easy-to-understand information about the ingredients in SC Johnson products.

"While some companies may feel it's enough to post a list of products and ingredients, at SC Johnson we believe communication is about more than just data - it's about context and explanation too," said Johnson. "Our site aims to really connect the dots, by giving details not just about what ingredients are used, but also what their functions are in our products, as well as other product information."

The web site launched with information about several SC Johnson products including Windex(R) Outdoor, Shout(R) Wipes, Glade(R) aerosol, the company's new Nature's Source(TM) cleaning products and more. These products are included as initial examples of what the site will provide when fully populated by January of 2012. Products will be added on a rolling basis.

A Leadership Position on Phthalates
In the summer of 2008, SC Johnson began working with its suppliers, requiring them to phase out phthalates from the fragrances they supply for SC Johnson products. This action came in response to an increasing number of questions from consumers and is another example of SC Johnson going beyond regulatory requirements in its product development.(2)

"We continually conduct extensive research and testing to ensure our products meet health, environmental and safety standards, and are effective. We also listen to our consumers, and at the end of the day, we will consider making a change if it's really important to the families that use our products," said Johnson. "The particular phthalate that raised concern - DEP - has been extensively researched and has been deemed safe by various scientific bodies. But the larger class of substances in the phthalate family has been more hotly debated, and we understand that sometimes whole categories of substances can erroneously be seen as concerning despite individual items being safe. So even though the chemistry was sound, we decided that making sure consumers know they can trust SC Johnson products was well worth the time and cost to change them."

DEP has been included in some of the fragrances that SC Johnson sources for its products, and used in very small amounts. It is the only phthalate that was used in the fragrances in SC Johnson home cleaning and air care products. Working with its partners in the supply chain, the company developed a plan to eliminate the use of any phthalates in the fragrances supplied to SC Johnson - and the plan is now well underway, with new and reformulated products being produced without phthalates. The company expects to be out of phthalates completely within the timeframe of this plan.

"A trip to the drugstore or supermarket shouldn't turn into a guessing game, especially when your family's health is involved," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "SC Johnson is looking at the future in the right way. Their customers will now be able to make informed choices about what to use in their homes. We hope other companies will follow the example that SC Johnson has now set for its household cleaners and air freshening products."

Source: SC Johnson

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