SC Johnson Combines Learning and Action to Inspire Green Choices

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SC Johnson Combines Learning and Action to Inspire Green Choices

Launches Groundbreaking Program to Understand Sustainable Behavior Change
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SC Johnson launches groundbreaking Sustainable Behavior Change Program
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 2:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Sustainable Behavior Change Program

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) Racine WI - June 20, 2012 - With a 12-decade track record of results, SC Johnson understands that success comes from a continuous cycle of learning and action. That’s why today SC Johnson is thrilled to announce two efforts focused on closing the persistent gap between families’ environmental aspirations and their everyday choices:

  • The SC Johnson Sustainable Behavior Change Program is a groundbreaking research project studying how to inspire behavior change around sustainable choices.
  • The SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge, in partnership with Recyclebank®, is a consumer action initiative designed to incent waste reduction in communities across the U.S. This initiative is one way SC Johnson is working towards its goal of becoming landfill neutral by eliminating or diverting 480 million pounds of waste from landfills, which is greater than its U.S. waste footprint. SC Johnson intends to achieve this goal by reducing its own waste through reduced product packaging, operational changes and consumer engagement.

“We have to figure out how to make sustainable choices easier and more desirable for families. Companies need to offer responsible products and operate sustainably. But importantly, consumers also need to demand, and then choose, green options.” says Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “We certainly don’t have all the answers at SC Johnson, but we’re continuously working for improvement in our own efforts, and we think we can also help gather insights and drive action that helps catalyze change.”

Learning How to Make Sustainable Behavior a Social Norm

Over the next five years, the SC Johnson Sustainable Behavior Change Program will bring together academics, environmentalists and consumers to identify what drives behavior change around a number of sustainable actions. Overlaying consumer-action programs – the first being the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge for waste reduction – the Sustainable Behavior Change Program will test different message techniques across communities to understand what drives behavior changes, especially around recycling, and ways to incent it.

SC Johnson is teaming up in this effort with world-renowned behavior-change experts Robert Cialdini, Ph.D, Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, and Vladas Griskevicius, Ph.D., University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professor of Marketing. Insights gained will ultimately be shared with the public so that everyone can use and benefit from the findings about what motivates sustainable behaviors.

Notes Cialdini, “This study, at this scale, has never been done before and is something we can all learn from – businesses, environmentalists, academics and families, alike. We are all a part of this community, looking to revolutionize sustainable behavior so it becomes a social norm.”

Taking Action to Inspire Consumers, Reduce Waste

The Sustainable Behavior Change Program’s initial research will dovetail with the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge. The Challenge will focus on increasing curbside recycling in 50 communities across the United States. The effort will also promote local recycling activity and offer incentives to participants. 

“Recycling is the most accepted of sustainable consumer behaviors, and yet the rates still have a lot of room for improvement,” adds Johnson. “More than half of our national waste – 136 million tons* – ends up in landfills across the country. The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash a day*, and that’s a real opportunity both for action and for understanding people’s motivation to change.”

Ultimately, the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge aims to increase consumers’ recycling and contribute to the company’s goal to become landfill neutral by 2016. The SC Johnson Sustainable Behavior Change Program will further the impact of this effort by gathering and analyzing research about recycling behaviors throughout the program.

“By motivating individuals and communities to take simple steps toward greener lifestyles, Recyclebank aims to help foster a culture working together toward a more sustainable future,” says Jonathan Hsu, CEO, Recyclebank®. “We are thrilled to partner with SC Johnson because it’s only through collaboration and innovation that we can better understand how to truly affect widespread behavior change and then implement the programs to make it happen."

Making Green Choices Internally

Since 2000, SC Johnson has already reduced its waste and air emissions by 55 percent. [1] Seven of its global manufacturing sites already divert at least 90 percent of their waste from landfills. Still, as part of this effort, the company will also be taking action on its waste within its operations and products. Along with continuing efforts to reduce waste in the production stream, SC Johnson plans to further cut waste generated by increasing post-consumer recycled content across product packaging to 30 percent and decreasing packaging across product lines by 5 percent by the end of 2016.

Through operational commitments as well as with the help of Recyclebank® and communities[2], across the country, the company will eliminate or divert more than 480 million pounds of waste from the nation’s landfills, which is greater than its U.S. waste footprint. The company defines its waste footprint as all its U.S. manufacturing, office and consumer packaging waste and shipping materials. As a result, the company is committed to becoming landfill neutral in the U.S. by the end of 2016.

A Continuing Legacy of Learning and Results

SC Johnson has a long legacy of learning and acting on sustainability opportunities. Over the last five years, the company cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 26 percent through the innovative use of renewable energies including wind power in Europe and the U.S. and biofuel in Asia. About 40 percent of the company’s total electricity usage worldwide now comes from renewable energy.

Additionally the company is a leader in responsible product innovation, with actions including its internally developed Greenlist™ ingredient selection process, its ingredient communication commitment, and its efforts to bring concentrated product refills to the mainstream market.

In February, SC Johnson launched a new line of concentrated cleaner refills that come in mini, recyclable bottles and require 79 percent less plastic than would be needed for a new full-size bottle. If just 20 percent of the 320 million cleaning products sold in trigger bottles were refilled every year, it could avoid save 7 million pounds of plastic from entering landfills each year.

Find out more about SC Johnson’s sustainability efforts:

2011 Public Report on Sustainability

Ingredient Communication Leadership

Concentrated Cleaner Refills Initiative


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, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR. MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 126-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.



[1] 2010 was the final year of SC Johnson’s five year energy, waste and emission reduction goals. The company had already surpassed its waste and air emissions goal in 2009 and made further progress in 2010. The company reduced its U.S. carbon footprint alone by 27.4 percent in 2010.

[2] The Recyclebank® partnership looks at waste reduction holistically and will look to recycle both SC Johnson brands and other consumer goods products to help reach the company’s goal.



Jam Stewart
+1 (262) 260-2440
Megan DiSciullo
+1 (312) 233-1363
Keywords: Responsible Production & Consumption | Green Choices Recycling Challenge | SC Johnson | Sustainable | Sustainable Behavior Change Program | environment | green choices | recycle

CAMPAIGN: Sustainable Behavior Change Program

CONTENT: Press Release