“Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer’s sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.”
That’s a quote from the late, great Chris Farley in the movie Tommy Boy.
The same concept he mocked with that line is the one that plagues well-intentioned green-minded consumers today.
SC Johnson — makers of Windex, Raid, Ziploc, and more — started labeling certain products from their brands with a “Greenlist” logo. Most people see a logo like that and think it will be eco-friendlier or contain a lesser amount of toxins.
What they didn’t know was that the Greenlist certification isn’t really a certification at all. It was a label created after an in-house study conducted in 2001 where SC Johnson rated their raw own raw materials, as well as those ingredients impact on the environment and health.
The Lawsuits Followed; The CEO Apologizes…
SC Johnson has settled two class action lawsuits that challenged its Greenlist logo — an image the company put on products that met its internal standards for less-harmful products — by agreeing to stop putting the label on Windex bottles.
“In retrospect. we could have done a better job at being more transparent and clearer with our label and what it meant,” Fisk Johnson, SC Johnson’s chairman and CEO, told GreenBiz.
Sure, he didn’t literally say, “Hey peeps, I’m sorry we effed up with that pseudo-label and all. My bad.” But what he did say was the corporate equivalent of such an apology…and an awesome one, in my opinion.
Why the Greenlist Label is Still a Good Thing
Even though 1st party certifications are a pretty much meaningless (for the growing number of those who know better), SC Johnson says that the initiative actually did lead to taking lots of really cool steps towards making their products greener. Greenbiz went on to say,
The company said that product reformulations have reduced volatile organic compounds by 48 million pounds in the last five years, and led to SC Johnson ordering suppliers to no longer use hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates in product fragrances.
Fisk Johnson also said that he’d ultimately like to reach a place where the company can be completely transparent about the Greenlist process and why each ingredient has received its specific rating.
So listen up SC Johnson, we like where you’re going. Sure, it’s been a bit of a bumpy road so far, but live and learn, right? Like we always say, every step matters…and don’t let anyone tell you differently.