SC Johnson Settles Cases Involving Greenlist™ Labeling

Continues Commitment to Continually Improving Products with its Award-winning Greenlist™ Process
Jul 8, 2011 2:50 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Racine, WI - July 8, 2011 – SC Johnson has reached an agreement on two lawsuits regarding use of its Greenlist™ logo on U.S. Windex® products. The company will stop using the logo in its current form on Windex® products, and the parties have agreed to an undisclosed settlement. 

“We decided to settle for two reasons. First, while we believed we had a strong legal case, in retrospect we could have been more transparent about what the logo signified,” said SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. “Second, and very importantly, Greenlist™ is such a fundamentally sound and excellent process we use to green our products, that we didn’t want consumers to be confused about it due to a logo on one product.”   The suits were brought in federal court by Mr. Wayne Koh in California and by Mr. Howard Petlack in Wisconsin. SC Johnson’s use of the Greenlist™ logo was intended to signify that the Windex® products had achieved the highest internal ratings according to the company’s patented Greenlist™ process. However, the plaintiffs claimed it was not clear Greenlist™ was an internally developed process rather than that of a third party and that the logo implied the products included environmentally friendly ingredients.   SC Johnson continues to believe that the Greenlist™ label met all applicable standards and regulations, and the company’s intention was in no way to mislead consumers. Additionally, while the company disagreed with the plaintiffs’ claim about the impression created by the logo, the Windex® products did in fact meet the company’s highest internal standards and the product ingredients are not harmful to the environment.   “While companies always try to ensure labels are clear and understandable, different interpretations can arise,” noted Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “We want to simply learn from the experience and move on.”   SC Johnson proudly continues to use the Greenlist™ process in product development as the company works to use more ingredients it has rated “better” and “best.” Since the process was created in 2001, SC Johnson has used it to make numerous advances including reformulating to cut nearly 48 million pounds of VOCs from SC Johnson products in the last five years alone. Examples include:  
  • Reformulating Windex® glass cleaner to remove 1.8 million pounds of VOCs while increasing cleaning power.

  • Using compressed air as a repellent in various products thus reducing their VOC content – for example in European Pledge® aerosols, this reduced VOCs by more than 25 percent.

  • Eliminating the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and chlorine-bleached paperboard in packaging worldwide.

  • Requiring SC Johnson suppliers to stop using phthalates in the fragrances supplied for our products. 

Additionally, the Greenlist™ process laid the groundwork for SC Johnson’s industry-leading ingredient communication program, launched in 2009. In recent years, more and more consumers have begun to request information about what’s in the products they use in their homes. Thanks to the Greenlist™ process, SC Johnson has nothing to hide because the company continues to improve the ingredients it uses in all its products. Going forward, the company intends to continue to expand its transparency efforts, including communicating more detail about the Greenlist™ process and the environmental profile of products.   About Greenlist™ SC Johnson’s Greenlist™ process is an internally developed environmental classification system used to help green the company’s chemistry. It has received numerous external recognitions, including the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2006. In the Greenlist™ process, ingredients are rated according to their impact on the environment and human health. Using this information, company scientists work to select ingredients with “Better” or “Best” ratings when developing new products. When reformulating existing products, they must contain ingredients with equal or better ratings than the original formula. At the end of the day, the goal is to annually increase the proportion of ingredients in SC Johnson products that have the least impact on the environment and human health.    About SC Johnson SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, and pest control. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, and MR. MUSCLE®. The 125-year-old company, with more than $8 billion in sales, employs approximately 12,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.    SCJ15160