Cutting through the (Mis)Information
Consumers are awash in product information. Kelly Semrau, senior vice president of global corporate affairs, communications, and sustainability at SC Johnson, explains how the company balances the demand for transparency with increasing amounts of misinformation.
By Renee Morad, July 13, 2017
With trust in companies in decline and misinformation on the rise, Kelly Semrau, senior vice president of global corporate affairs, communications, and sustainability at SC Johnson, explains how transparency provides a path to long-term success.
R.M.: Before getting into transparency, let’s look at distrust. How big a problem is it?
K.S.: A 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer study revealed the largest-ever drop in trust for institutions, including government, business, media and non-government organizations. Trust in business fell to 52% in 18 countries, and CEO credibility also fell globally.
R.M.: In the face of that, what’s SC Johnson doing to be even more transparent?
K.S.: Starting in 2009, SC Johnson made an industry-leading decision to voluntarily disclose all ingredients, including dyes, preservatives and fragrance ingredients, online and by phone to customers in the U.S., Canada and the EU, with Asia and Latin America to follow.
Also in that time frame, we’ve launched our Exclusive Fragrance Palette, became the first to launch product-specific fragrance disclosure and published a list of “not-allowable” ingredients. On our continuing journey of transparency leadership, the company recently disclosed a list of 368 potential skin allergens.
Today, our ingredient website offers information for more than 3,500 products globally, in 24 languages, 31 countries, and for more than 20 brands, along with background information on why certain ingredients are used.
R.M.: What’s your advice for those consumers trying to sift through loads of information about the products they’re buying?
K.S.: We work to initiate a dialogue about transparency. In February 2016, for example, we launched Glade Fresh Citrus Blossoms, the first line from a consumer packaged goods company to disclose 100% of fragrance ingredients down to the component level. This was above and beyond those that disclose in aggregate, since fragrances, whether created or essential oils, contain tens or even hundreds of components. We’re committed to educating consumers, keeping the dialogue rooted in scientific fact and debunking myths.
To learn more about the ingredients in SC Johnson products, visit, WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com
This article was created for SC Johnson by Scientific American Custom Media, a division separate from the magazine’s board of editors.