Johnson & Johnson's* products, a company with more than 100 years of consumer product experience, are staples in many homes across the world. So it came as a surprise to many when the company declared it will be reformulating almost its entire product line – not only making company history, but possibly moving the bar forward for responsible companies as well.
This week, Johnson & Johnson announced it will remove potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde and phthalates, from its line of cosmetics and toiletries products worldwide by 2015. This move comes less than a year after the company made a commitment to phase out dangerous chemicals from its baby products in response to a report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Johnson & Johnson is one of the largest brands in the personal care space to make such a bold commitment, shocking industry insiders and advocates alike. Kenneth A. Cook of the Environmental Working Group describes his surprise inThe New York Times, stating, "We've never really seen a major personal care product company take the kind of move that they're taking with this. Not really even anything in the ballpark."
The new announcement will affect almost all cosmetics and toiletries products for the company, including well-known brands such as Lubriderm, Neutrogena and Clean & Clear. Johnson & Johnson acknowledges this means tinkering with products that loyal consumers have known and loved for years, but the company assures its consumers the brands will continue to be as effectiveas ever.
Johnson & Johnson is raising the bar for companies across the industry with its aggressive commitment, but it's also signaling a larger breakthrough. A major barrier for responsible products is the stigma that they either cost more, are less effective or both. So if Johnson & Johnson succeeds in making some of the world's most beloved brands safer and healthier for consumers, it will also mean a major advancement for responsible companies worldwide.
We encourage your thoughts and comments. Continue the conversation on Twitter by using #WDYSF.