S. C. Johnson & Son
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Current S. C. Johnson logo
Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Founder||Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr.|
|Headquarters||1525 Howe Street, |
|Herbert Fisk Johnson III (Chairman & CEO)|
|Revenue||US$ 11.75 billion (2013)|
Number of employees
S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (commonly referred to as S. C. Johnson) is an American multinational privately held manufacturer of household cleaning supplies and other consumer chemicals based in Racine, Wisconsin. In 2017, S. C. Johnson employed approximately 13,000 people and had estimated sales of $10 billion. The company is owned by the Johnson family. H. Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO since 2004, is the fifth generation of the Johnson family to lead the company.
The company is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the U.S, beginning in 1886 when Samuel Curtis Johnson purchased the parquet flooring division from the Racine Hardware Manufacturing Company and named the new business S. C. Johnson. The company’s principal product at that time was parquet flooring, later adding other floor care products like Johnson’s Prepared Wax, Johnson’s Dance Wax and Johnson’s Wood Dye.
Under Herbert Fisk Johnson Sr., the company expanded worldwide, establishing its first subsidiary in the United Kingdom in 1914. Giving his employees credit for a successful year, Herbert gave them $35,000 in 1917. In 1932, SC Johnson introduced Johnson’s Glo-Coat. The success of Glo-Coat bolstered the company during the Great Depression. S. C. Johnson’s line of wax-reliant products necessitated Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr.’s 1935 expedition to Fortaleza, Brazil to find a direct sustainable source of wax.
From April 1935 until May 1950, the company was the sponsor for the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, officially known as The Johnson Wax Program. During the 1950s, the company served as sponsor of the game show, The Name's the Same. The company went on to co-sponsor Robert Montgomery Presents on NBC, and The Red Skelton Show on CBS.
In April of 1939, the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed SC Johnson Administration Building opened. Its addition, the Research Tower, opened in 1950. The SC Johnson Headquarters was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
The launch of Raid House & Garden Bug Killer in 1955 marked the company’s first major departure away from wax-based products. Within the next few years, Sam Johnson, fourth generation leader, introduced some of the company’s best known: Glade, OFF! and Pledge.
In April 2018, the company updated its tagline from "A Family Company", which began in 1998, to "A Family Company at Work for a Better World". According to the company, the updated tagline is "A reminder that SC Johnson holds itself to a higher standard."
- In 1992, the company bought Drackett, manufacturer of Windex, Drāno and other specialty cleaning products.
- In 1998, S. C. Johnson expanded its roster of consumer brands when it purchased Dow Chemical's DowBrands division, which included Ziploc, Saran, Fantastik, and Scrubbing Bubbles.
- In 1999, the commercial cleaning products and systems division separated from Johnson Wax and became a stand-alone company called Johnson Wax Professional, later known as Diversey, Inc.
- In 2003, the company acquired the three Bayer brands Baygon, Bay Fresh, and Autan.
- In 2008 the company acquired Caldrea, Co., maker of household cleaning products including the Caldrea and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day brands.
- S. C. Johnson acquired Deb Group in 2015. A year later the company announced a new line of SC Johnson Professional products at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN conference in Chicago.
- In July 2016 the company signed an agreement to acquire Babyganics, a baby products company with skin care, oral care, sun care, insect repellent, diapers and wipe products.
- In 2017 the company signed an agreement to acquire cleaning brands Method and Ecover.
The company launched a website listing ingredients for their products sold in North America in 2009. Fragrance ingredients were added to the list in 2012. The company added the ingredients of its European products to the list in May 2016. In May 2017, SC Johnson disclosed a list of 368 potential skin allergens in its products.
Among the brands owned by S. C. Johnson & Son are the following:
- Grand Prix (in some markets, known as Kit and Carnu)
- Johnsons Brite
- Mr Muscle
Household cleaning and scent products
- Beanpod Soy Candles
- KabiKiller (Japan)
- Kiwi Dranex
- Kiwi Dranex Kleen
- Mr Muscle
- Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
- Nature's Source
- Pride, furniture polish
- Scrubbing Bubbles (formerly known as Dow Bathroom Cleaner before the sale to S. C. Johnson & Son)
- Toilet Duck
Household food storage
Household pest control
- Woly Sport
S. C. Johnson & Son's Greenlist process is a classification system that evaluates the effects of raw materials on human health and the environment. The Greenlist logo represents an internal ratings system to help customers identify which products are environmentally safe. The Greenlist label is present in many S. C. Johnson & Son products. The Greenlist process has resulted in the elimination of 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from Windex, and four million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride from Saran Wrap.
In 2011, S. C. Johnson & Son settled a lawsuit that alleged the company's Greenlist label misled consumers into believing the products were reviewed by a third party and given a seal of approval. The company agreed to an undisclosed sum and dropped the labeling of Greenlist on Windex.
S. C. Johnson & Son is the main sponsor of the Serra das Almas Private Natural Heritage Reserve in the states of Ceará and Piauí, Brazil. The reserve protects an area of the caatinga biome, including wild specimens of the carnauba palm tree (Copernicia prunifera), the source of carnauba wax.
On December 18, 2012, S. C. Johnson & Son began operation of two wind turbines at their largest manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. The turbines, in addition to the gas reclamation system in place at a nearby landfill, are estimated to produce enough electricity to completely power the facility.
In 2017 S. C. Johnson purchased the ecological product Ecover and Method brands on undisclosed terms.
A RICO lawsuit by tax whistleblower Mike DeGuelle alleges that since 1997, S. C. Johnson & Son has taken advantage of audit errors and filed fraudulent tax returns, underpaying its taxes by millions of dollars. H. Fisk Johnson ordered an inquiry into the allegations, and told Tax Analysts that he learned "other details of the decisions they (the tax department) made that I didn't like. I didn't like what I heard." On December 15, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Case No. 10-2172, ruled that DeGuelle had alleged a valid claim that the company's discharge of him was part of the tax fraud scheme. DeGuelle's claim was reviewed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin with the Court ruling to dismiss the RICO lawsuit on the grounds of preclusion. The Court did not rule on SC Johnson’s actions as they pertain to tax evasion, with Judge Stadtmueller stating that "the legality of SC Johnson’s actions (and whether those actions did, in fact, occur) is of no importance to the Court’s consideration of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment." The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reviewed DeGuelle's case and affirmed an earlier ruling of the Racine County Circuit Court in favor of SC Johnson for defamation related to Deguelle's claims of tax evasion and breach of a confidentiality agreement.
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