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SC Johnson expands ingredient disclosure to Latin America

Products - Glade air freshener ©SC Johnson

US cleaning products giant SC Johnson has expanded its ingredient disclosure website – WhatsInsideSCJohnson – to cover Latin America.

The website already covers the US, Canada, Europe and Asia-Pacific and the company said Latin America is the "final piece of the puzzle".

Launched in 2009, the company's transparency programme now provides ingredient information for more than 8,700 products, in 35 languages.

"Ten years ago, SC Johnson made a commitment to global ingredient transparency. Today, by expanding our programme to Latin America, we have fulfilled that commitment," said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson.

The programme is fuelled by a global demand for corporate transparency, as illustrated by one SC Johnson and Globescan white paper on the subject. In some regions, SC Johnson says it is preempting that demand, disclosing "where consumers may not even be demanding it yet, and where regulations don’t require it."

Commitment to transparency

Director of science and research at US NGO Women's Voices for the Earth, Alexandra Scranton, said that when a company makes a commitment to transparency, and ties that commitment to the values of the company, it makes sense that this would be global in nature. It's not about applying disclosure "just in the US where perhaps they have heard the most requests for ingredient information from their consumers".

Ms Scranton said SC Johnson's move should inspire other companies to do the same. It should encourage them to "take the level of transparency they are committed to and apply it globally".

However, she acknowledged the effort involved. "It takes time to do the logistics of disclosure, sorting out formulas, updating websites and so on and they have finally been able to do this for their Latin American customers."

In 2018, SC Johnson revealed the fragrance ingredients in its products down to 0.01% of the formula. This followed consumer goods company Procter & Gamble’s announcement that it planned to do the same for all products sold in the US and Canada by the end of 2019. And Unilever US made fragrance ingredient information for more than 100 products available online and through an app in 2017.

"We have brought ingredient transparency around the world, and in the process, we have helped motivate the industry toward greater transparency," said Mr Johnson. 

Last year, the company was criticised for not taking such a progressive approach to transparency with its products aimed at professional users. However, it has since committed to disclosing ingredients in these products by 2020.

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