Is it Green Washing or Scrubbing Bubbles?

After making a quick tweet on Twitter about a recent SC Johnson commercial, I did some more research. SC Johnson is a family company producing household cleaning products with such brands as Windex, Glade, Drano, and Scrubbing Bubbles.

The commercial expounded their initiatives on using alternative energy at their production facilities. At the end of the commercial, shots of Windex and Pledge were shown. My first thought was that SC Johnson is guilty of green washing. Green washing is the term used for companies riding the wave of environmentalism but not really producing green products. SC Johnson produces household cleaners with harmful chemicals but then tout their “green” energy policies.

I researched the SC Johnson web site and the company seems to be sincerely trying to help the environment. Without any legal requirements, the SC Johnson products will now list their ingredients. Only a few are on their website though. They are members of the Environmental Protective Agency’s “Partnership for Safer Chemistry” to help reduce harmful chemicals. SC Johnson also has a patented process called Greenlist to reduce to make their products better for the environment.

So why am I still bothered? I have adult onset asthma. Many studies claim one of the reasons for the rise in asthma is the chemicals in household cleaners. We really don’t need to use ammonia, bleach and the myriad of other chemicals to clean our homes. Natural products like vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap do just as well without harm to our lungs and to the environment. SC Johnson produces the type of products that make my lungs squeeze in pain. I get scared when I see a bottle of Windex.

While I admire that SC Johnson is making an attempt to be more environmental they still are launching products with harmful chemicals. They posted a page on their web site which disputes claims about household chemicals with such statements as “Natural or home remedies are not necessarily safer, effective or lower in allergens. In fact, many natural products undergo limited or no scientific testing compared to the extensive toxicological evaluations.” So while the site is full of their environmental initiatives, they still defend the use of their synthetic harmful chemicals.

What does this have to do with harmonious marketing? SC Johnson is a business and their green initiatives are just trying to address the concerns of their customers. Instead, to be truly harmonious, many of their products should be fazed out and replaced with more less harmful products. At least SC Johnson is making an attempt but they are still trying to protect their turf. Reports defending their use of chemicals while still making “Greenlist” and other environmental claims are not in harmony.

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One response to “Is it Green Washing or Scrubbing Bubbles?

  1. After receiving your email, I clicked through in your signature to your blog. Very informative!

    I am doing some initial work with a company that has some health and wellness products. This includes a line of cleaners which are supposed to be non-toxic and not harmful to any living beings in your home. I would welcome your comments on these types of cleaners as I don’t have any experience of knowledge of these type of cleaning products.

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