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SC Johnson Details Scope 3 Emissions, Hits Renewables Goal

The greatest part of SC Johnson’s Scope 3 emissions, 38 percent, comes from customer use of its products, according to the company’s 2011 annual public report.

The maker of Glade, Off!, Pledge, Raid and Ziploc brand products said that of its 2009 Scope 3 emissions, 26 percent occurred from “cradle to gate,” nine percent from upstream transportation and distribution, and another nine percent from downstream transportation and distribution.

Last year SC Johnson was one of 60 companies to test the GHG Protocol Initiative’s Scope 3 (Corporate Value Chain) Accounting and Reporting Standard, which officially debuted in October 2011. The company says the tests showed the need for a supplier emissions scorecard, which is now being developed, and for a common language within the firm for data tracking.

In the coming year, SC Johnson says it will be conducting another Scope 3 evaluation and beginning to develop and implement actions to address findings.

In the 2011 report, the company says it met all of its sustainability objectives for 2011. S.C. Johnson met many of these targets in previous years. The report also sets new five-year goals with target dates in 2016.

The only goal newly beat this year was to source 40 percent of electricity from renewables by 2011. By last year, S.C. Johnson was sourcing 40.2 percent of electricity from renewables, up from 39.7 percent in 2009 and 28 percent in 2006.

SC Johnson was recognized in February 2011 as number eight on the EPA’s Top 20 On-Site Generation list. This recognized the company for using an on-site landfill gas system at its largest worldwide manufacturing facility, Waxdale in Wisconsin. It also buys green power from Spartan Renewable Energy in Cadillac, Michigan.

The company has been testing Swift mini wind turbines at its headquarters in Racine, Wisc., and in the past year announced that it is planning to build two or three wind turbines at Waxdale, which should enable the plant to produce 100 percent of its electrical energy on-site.

The company had a goal of cutting GHG emissions from worldwide factories by 12 percent by 2011, versus a 2000 baseline, and it achieved this in 2007. By 2009 the reduction had grown to 31.6 percent, although last year it dropped back to 26.2 percent.

For U.S. absolute GHG emissions, the company beat its goal of an eight percent reduction from a 2005 baseline three years early, in 2008. In 2010 its absolute GHG emissions were 27.4 percent below the 2005 baseline, representing an increase over 2009 levels, when GHG emissions were 29.1 percent below the baseline.

S.C. Johnson had set a goal of a 50 percent reduction in combined air emissions, water effluents and solid waste by 2011, from a 2000 baseline, and it met this in 2009 when it reached a 54 percent reduction. In 2010 the company hit a 55 percent reduction.

SC Johnson’s facility in Brantford, Ontario, was recently recognized by the Zero Waste International Alliance for diverting 92.6 percent of its waste. The facility recycles wax byproducts, reuses and recycles drum and card-board containers, and reuses flush water in the manufacturing process to cut wastewater.

Six other SC Johnson facilities also achieved diversion rates of at least 90 percent in 2010, including sites in the U.S., U.K., China, Indonesia and Pakistan. Its facility in Shanghai uses solar heating to produce hot water for operations, which cuts greenhouse gases by 93 metric tons per year. In Baddi, India, a rainwater harvesting project recharges groundwater and conserves rain to revive the water table.

In 2011, the company started testing to determine if a waste gel material called filter cake, a byproduct of manufacturing the Edge and Skintimate brand products, could be recycled into a beneficial material. Working with outside partners including a compost expert, SC Johnson been combining filter cake with landscape waste for possible use as a composting material. If the test is successful, the company says this could reduce the amount of filter cake waste going into landfill by at least 50 percent.

The firm says it has continued to use its Greenlist products to improve the ingredients going into its products. The process ranks each potential ingredient as Best, Better, Acceptable or 0-rated – the last one for materials that can only be used in special circumstances. Since 2001, the percent of “better” or “best” ingredients used in the company’s products increased by 33 percentage points.

In July, SC Johnson said it would stop using its Greenlist logo on U.S. Windex products as part of the resolution to two lawsuits, and would pay an undisclosed settlement, after plaintiffs said the logo implied the use of environmentally friendly ingredients.


SC Johnson has set environmental goals every five years for the past two decades, and says it has regularly reported its progress every year in that time.

Goals for 2016 include:

  • Increase “better” or “best” rated ingredients to 58 percent, from 51 percent in 2010.
  • Communicate to the people who buy SC Johnson products about the materials used and the impact of the company’s operations.
  • Increase post-consumer-recycled content across product packaging to 30 percent. Decrease packaging across product lines by five percent. Offset 30 percent of virgin material use through innovative partnership and packaging advances.
  • Decrease the company’s upstream carbon footprint by 8 percent. Reduce emissions from SC Johnson operations by another 6 percent. Decrease downstream footprint by 2 percent.
  • Increase the company’s use of renewable energy to 44 percent of total electricity use worldwide.
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