Winner of EFMD Case Writing Competition, 2020 in the Corporate Social Responsibility category

SC Johnson and the Global Ocean Plastic Crisis

'Enrich Not Exploit': Can New CSR Strategy Help Body Shop Regain Glory?
Case Code: BECG168
Case Length: 14 Pages
Period: 2018-2020
Pub Date: 2021
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: SC Johnson & Son, Inc.
Industry: -
Countries: United States
Themes: Business Ethics, Corporate Responsibility,Sustainability,Business Ethics
'Enrich Not Exploit': Can New CSR Strategy Help Body Shop Regain Glory?
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


Global Ocean Plastic Crisis

Ocean plastic pollution is a complex issue and one of the most pressing environmental concerns facing the world. According to a 2016 study published by the World Economic Forum, about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans annually, which is equivalent to a garbage truckload of plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute (See Exhibit II and Exhibit III). The main sources of ocean plastic were land-based, from sewer overflows, beach visitors, inadequate waste disposal and management, industrial activities, construction, and illegal dumping (See Exhibit IV). As per estimates, there were up to 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic weighing about 250,000 tons floating on the oceans world over. A significant amount of this waste came from rivers which carried plastic waste from deep inland to the sea. Rivers were thus major contributors to ocean pollution..

SCJ Dives In to Address The Issue

Fisk, an avid ocean diver, had seen ocean plastic first hand and was deeply affected by its devastating impact on marine life and ocean ecosystems. “As a lifelong diver, it’s only natural for me to want to do what we can to protect the ocean. I’ve been diving for 47 years now, and I have probably done over a thousand dives. I’ve had a chance to see how the ocean has changed over those years, and I have seen more and more plastic waste in the ocean. I have seen more and more pressure on the health of the ocean ecosystems,” he said. Fisk pointed out that the whole world, including human beings, was in peril due to ocean acidification, overfishing, and plastic in the ocean..

Monetizing Waste

In October 2018, SCJ partnered with social enterprise Plastic Bank to manage ocean plastic waste by improving recycling infrastructure across Indonesia while addressing the challenges of poverty in impoverished communities..

Reusing Social Plastic

In February 2019, as part of its commitment to make all its plastic packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025, SCJ announced that it would launch the industry’s first plastic bottle made entirely from recycled ocean plastic to pack its home cleaning brands Windex Original and Windex Vinegar. SCJ purchased Social Plastic from Plastic Bank at a premium and incorporated it into its Windex brand in both the US and Canada. ..

Raising Awareness Through Social Media

In order to raise awareness about the impacts of plastic ocean waste, Fisk actively posted news and information about plastic waste on various social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn..

Challenges Ahead

According to Fisk, one of the biggest challenges facing SCJ in its fight against ocean plastic waste would be to change consumer behavior around plastic usageand sell some of its sustainable packaging and product options..


Exhibit I: SC Johnson Vs. Top Competitors
Exhibit II: Estimates of Global Plastics Entering the Oceans (2010)
Exhibit III: Plastic Production Worldwide
Exhibit IV: Leakage of Plastic into the Marine Environment from Different Sectors and through Different Entry Points
Exhibit V: Top Countries Polluting the Oceans*
Exhibit VI: SCJ’s Commitments to Reduce its Plastic Footprint
Exhibit VII: How the Plastic Bank Partnership Works
Exhibit VIII: Fisk Johnson on Twitter
Exhibit IX: A Schematic Overview of the Global Plastics Value Chain
Exhibit X: Primary Plastic Packaging
Exhibit XI: SC Johnson – Primary Packaging Materials

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