SC Johnson tweaks brand purpose as emissions tumble

SC Johnson, ubiquitously known as "a family company", has updated its identity to place sustainability at the heart of business strategy, as outlined in the company’s latest sustainability report which revealed that emissions have been halved over an 18-year period.

SC Johnson, which owns brands such as Pledge, Glade and Windex, adopted the “family company” tagline in 1998, but will now be known through the tagline “a family company at work for a better world”.

The company has successfully used the moniker to build brand trust amongst consumers and will now update the tagline to place its commitment to sustainability at the forefront of consumer engagement.  

“SC Johnson has a long legacy as a family company committed to doing what’s right, for our consumers, communities and the environment,” SC Johnson’s chief executive Fisk Johnson said.

“Now more than ever, consumers demand transparency from brands and we always try to be one step ahead to lead the industry to higher standards. The change we’ve made to our tagline reflects how we’re going above and beyond to give consumers what they need to make the best choices for their families.”

The company has launched new videos to outline how sustainability ambitions have been embedded into the purpose of the company to “build a better world for the next generation”.

The new tagline was announced on the same week the SC Johnson published its latest sustainability report. The report outlines how SC Johnson has pushed well beyond a targeted 15% in emissions reductions, originally scheduled for 2020, having reduced emissions by 55% since 2000.

For the past 13 years, SC Johnson has used renewable energy to power facilities. As outlined in the latest report, 35% of global energy consumption is sourced from renewables.

SC Johnson’s approach to transparency and science-based environmental activism is highlighted through the Greenlist programme. Created in 2001, it evaluates every product ingredient’s potential impact on the environment and on people across a four-step process.

As part of the Greenlist programme, SC Johnson has added more than 200 unique raw materials to a “not allowable” list. These materials all meet legal and regulatory requirements — and are often used by other companies in the industry, but SC Johnson refuses to source them on ethical and environmental grounds.

The company has also phased-out ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons from products and operations, while two-thirds of its global manufacturing sites are sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill, with a zero-waste-to-landfill goal in place for 2021.

Charitable history

Since 1937, SC Johnson has donated 5% of pre-tax profits to charities, including a $15m donation for personal insect repellents when the Zika virus first broke out.

In 2017, SC Johnson built on this charitable heritage through an “acre-to-acre” partnership with Conservation International (CI). The company pledged to match $25 donations made by consumers towards protecting areas of the Amazon Rainforest, up to 5,000 acres.

As part of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast, edie spoke with the firm’s vice-president of sustainability Kelly Semrau, who explained why her company had taken on the task of protecting 10,000 acres of Amazon rainforest.

Matt Mace

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