SC Johnson Withdraws “Greenlist” Logo- Lessons in Greenwashing

July 12, 2011 by  
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SC Johnson will stop using the “Greenlistâ„¢” logo in its current form on Windex® products. The company has reached an agreement on two lawsuits regarding use of its logo and the parties have agreed to an undisclosed settlement. The Greenlistâ„¢ logo was intended to signify that the Windex® products had achieved the highest internal ratings according to the company’s patented Greenlistâ„¢ process. The lawsuit resulted as plaintiffs opined that Greenlistâ„¢ was an internally developed process rather than that of a third-party and that the logo implied the products included environmentally friendly ingredients. What was the issue with the label? The label depicts a drawing of two leaves and a stem. On the reverse side of the label, which is read through the back of the Windex bottle, the text says-“Greenlistâ„¢ is a rating system that promotes the use of environmentally responsible ingredients. For additional information, visit www.scjohnson.com”. The suits were brought in federal court by Mr. Wayne Koh in California and by Mr. Howard Petlack in Wisconsin in March 2009. SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson tries to clear the air- “We decided to settle for two reasons. First, while we believed we had a strong legal case, in retrospect we could have been more transparent about what the logo signified , and second, and very importantly, Greenlistâ„¢ is such a fundamentally sound and excellent process we use to green our products, that we didn’t want consumers to be confused about it due to a logo on one product.” Correct. Without clear communication, internal audits or certifications can amount to greenwashing claims and ruin reputation . Apparently, the company now understand this, evident from this clear line of explanation from the CEO, and is making amends by withdrawing the logo. Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson noted, “While companies always try to ensure labels are clear and understandable, different interpretations can arise. We want to simply learn from the experience and move on.” SC Johnson will continue to use  Greenlistâ„¢ in its product development as it continues to strive for better cleaning ingredients. According to the SC Johnson’s press release , SC Johnson’s Greenlistâ„¢ process is an internally developed environmental classification system used to help green the company’s chemistry. It has received numerous external recognitions, including the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2006. In the Greenlistâ„¢ process, ingredients are rated according to their impact on the environment and human health. Using this information, company scientists work to select ingredients with “Better” or “Best” ratings when developing new products. When reformulating existing products, they must contain ingredients with equal or better ratings than the original formula. At the end of the day, the goal is to annually increase the proportion of ingredients in SC Johnson products that have the least impact on the environment and human health. Since the process was created in 2001, Greenlistâ„¢ has helped make numerous advances including reformulating cleaning products to cut nearly 48 million pounds of VOCs from SC Johnson products in the last five years alone. Additionally this internal audit system also laid the groundwork for SC Johnson’s ingredient communication program, launched in 2009. All good things. Third-party certifications and audits are valuable in adding credibility but pasting your own “company checklist” as an approval stamp, however stringent and qualified, can very easily nullify the effectiveness of the program. But all seems to be going well with SC Johnson, as they have learned from this episode, removed the logo, settled the complaint and want to continue their commitment to sustainability and transparency. Read more posts on greenwashing and how to avoid it on Ecopreneurist

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SC Johnson Withdraws “Greenlist” Logo- Lessons in Greenwashing

Ecopreneur Interview Series: five Accessories

April 20, 2011 by  
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Part 11 in a series where Krates Ng (co-founder of Mokugift the ecard service) interviews fellow ecopreneurs.  Today, Krates interviews Christine Hutchinson, founder of Five Accessories

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Ecopreneur Interview Series: five Accessories

Ecopreneur Interview Series: mod.skin labs

April 11, 2011 by  
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Part 7 in a series where Krates Ng (co-founder of Mokugift the ecard service) interviews fellow ecopreneurs.  Today, Krates interviews Raffaele Ruberto, founder of mod.skin labs

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Ecopreneur Interview Series: mod.skin labs

Bennu’s New.Life.Style Mantra: Improving Markets for Recycled Products

April 4, 2011 by  
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Bennu is a socially responsible product development and marketing company that completes the recycling loop. By developing quality brands using sustainable business practices, Bennu is greening the standard for a new lifestyle.

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Bennu’s New.Life.Style Mantra: Improving Markets for Recycled Products

7 Cheap Ways for Your Small Green Business to Connect With Customers

March 30, 2011 by  
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Green businesses around the globe work hard to solve big problems, but good intentions are not always enough. True success requires that you not only have a great product, but that you let people know about it.

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7 Cheap Ways for Your Small Green Business to Connect With Customers

SunRun Is Bringing Solar Energy to A House Near You!

March 17, 2011 by  
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This series is made possible by energy-efficiency specialists WellHome and their Home Weatherization Giveaway Sweepstakes. Take a quick visual quiz of your home’s energy use to see your potential yearly savings. Hurry! For your shot at a grand prize of $2500 in energy efficiency upgrades, enter by March 20! Solar Installation, Image Credit: SunRun With the risks involved with harnessing nuclear technology unmasked this week after the tsunami in Japan, developing and promoting clean renewable energy has never been so important. Solar energy is plentiful in most places, yet solar installations for the home and office are as rare as solar energy is abundant.

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SunRun Is Bringing Solar Energy to A House Near You!

Project Home Again: Rebuilding An Energy Efficient New Orleans

March 16, 2011 by  
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This series is made possible by energy-efficiency specialists WellHome and their Home Weatherization Giveaway Sweepstakes. Take a quick visual quiz of your home’s energy use to see your potential yearly savings.

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Project Home Again: Rebuilding An Energy Efficient New Orleans

2011 Energy Star Emerging Technology Award Winners Reuse Wasted Energy

March 15, 2011 by  
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This series is made possible by energy-efficiency specialists WellHome and their Home Weatherization Giveaway Sweepstakes. Take a quick visual quiz of your home’s energy use to see your potential yearly savings. Hurry! For your shot at a grand prize of $2500 in energy efficiency upgrades, enter by March 20! The U.S

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2011 Energy Star Emerging Technology Award Winners Reuse Wasted Energy

OPOWER’s Innovative Approach Uses Behavioral Science to Save Energy

March 14, 2011 by  
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This series is made possible by energy-efficiency specialists WellHome and their Home Weatherization Giveaway Sweepstakes. Take a quick visual quiz of your home’s energy use to see your potential yearly savings. Hurry! For your shot at a grand prize of $2500 in energy efficiency upgrades, enter by March 20! OPOWER Framework, Image Credit: OPOWER.com OPOWER is an industry leader in energy efficiency and smart grid software.

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OPOWER’s Innovative Approach Uses Behavioral Science to Save Energy

Navigating the Waters of Mission and Profit with Criterion Ventures

March 10, 2011 by  
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A common dilemma for social entrepreneurs is the choice between and within for-profit and non-profit legal structures. Everyone in our field knows how artificial the for/non-profit line can seem when you’re an entrepreneur trying to change the world, while (hopefully) supporting yourself and dependents in order to make your efforts sustainable over time

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Navigating the Waters of Mission and Profit with Criterion Ventures

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