SC Johnson published its 26th annual sustainability today, including a close look inside the criteria the company uses for its Greenlist ingredient selection program. The $10 billion product manufacturer is sharing details about this internal process for the first time.
Greenlist is SC Johnson’s peer-reviewed, science-based program that evaluates the effects on human health and the environment for every ingredient the company uses, the 2017 sustainability report notes. It was first formalized in 2001.
“The Greenlist program is grounded by a rigorous, ongoing effort to collect best-in-class data about ingredients and their impacts,” the company says. “This includes reviewing supplier information and filling any gaps with other publicly available, scientifically rigorous data from sources like the US National Institutes of Health’s TOXNET and the European Chemicals Agency database.”
Each product the company uses goes through a four-step evaluation process that combines hazard and risk assessment, the company explains. The steps look at each ingredient for chronic human health hazards, long-term environmental hazards, acute risks to human and environmental health, and other potential effects such as allergic reactions. The company voluntarily discloses allergens down to 0.01%.
“Risk assessments are triggered for any ingredient that doesn’t pass the hazard criteria,” the report says. “The results guide our product development.”
Last May, SC Johnson announced plans to disclose 368 skin allergens that may be present in their products and published the list on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com. “This move goes beyond regulations in the European Union and also in the United States, where there are no rules requiring allergen transparency,” the company says. The program now reaches over 5 billion consumers in 52 countries.
The Racine, Wisconsin-based company was founded in 1886 and has five generations of family leadership. Currently SC Johnson has 13,000 employees globally. The manufacturer’s line of products includes household cleaners, air care, and pest control with brands such as Glade, Off!, Shout, Pledge, Raid, Windex, and Ziploc.
Building consumer trust is a key aspect of the company’s push for ingredient transparency. The sustainability report cites the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, which says that less than half of the general population trusts business, government, media, and nongovernmental organizations to do the right thing.
“At SC Johnson, we believe trust has to be earned,” the report says. “We must be transparent with the good and bad — transparent about our ingredients, our environmental issues, our supply chain and even the mistakes we make.”
The company’s 2017 sustainability report is available here.
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