Comms case study: SC Johnson’s transparency journey to consumer trust

by | Nov 2, 2017 | Public Relations

As consumers continue to lose trust in business, companies are being held to higher standards for disclosing the ingredients in their products. Because of its legacy and leadership in ingredient transparency, consumer product giant SC Johnson has become a trust-building leader with consumers worldwide.

“We believe that transparency is a critical way to earn consumer trust,” said Kelly M. Semrau, SVP of global corporate affairs, communication and sustainability at SC Johnson, in a news release. “Research, and our conversations with consumers and stakeholders around the world, show a clear and growing desire for companies to provide more information about what goes into their products and why. We go beyond what is required and make this information available because it’s the right thing to do.”

In line with insights being seen across other parts of the world, a recent survey* conducted by SC Johnson found that 85 percent of consumers polled believe that household cleaning product companies should disclose more about the ingredients in their products. The survey also revealed that 58 percent conduct their household cleaning product research while they are shopping, underscoring the need for companies to make the information easily accessible via mobile devices.

SC Johnson has undertaken several initiatives globally to provide more and more information on the ingredients in its products—from where and how they are used to allergens that may occur. The company’s transparency website lists easy-to-access and easy-to-understand information for more than 5,300 SC Johnson products sold in 52 countries worldwide.

SC Johnson’s transparency journey to consumer trust

SC Johnson’s transparency journey

The company began its transparency journey by launching its ingredient website in 2009. The website offers consumers unparalleled access to a comprehensive list of product ingredients for its brands. In 2012, it added a comprehensive list of fragrance ingredients used in its products. SC Johnson excludes about 2,400 ingredients that don’t meet the company’s high standards, even though they meet industry standards and are legal in commerce.

In 2015, working closely with fragrance houses, SC Johnson added to its website product-specific fragrance disclosure. In 2016, the company expanded its disclosure program to Europe. In 2017, the program rolled out across Asia with Latin America to follow next year.

In 2017, SC Johnson broke additional ground announcing its plans to disclose, on a product-specific basis, the presence of 368 skin allergens that may occur in its products. The list of these allergens has already been published on the ingredients sire, and by 2018, the site will list the allergens when contained in a product.

* SC Johnson commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey of adults across four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. This survey was fielded between September 12-27, 2017. The margin of error for this study (n=1,002) is +/-3.1% at the 95% confidence level.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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