ScottsMiracle-Gro's lawn fertilizers in the U.S. to be phosphorus-free by the end of 2012;
Company to focus innovation efforts on the use of nitrogen;
New multi-year commitment to consumer education and outreach on World Water Day announced
MARYSVILLE, Ohio, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG), the world's largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products, today launched new initiatives involving product changes and consumer education efforts to improve water quality and conservation in the United States.
"We want to provide consumers with the tools they need to create the lawn and garden they want while also being stewards of the environment," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and chief executive officer. "What better time to announce these initiatives than on World Water Day, and also at the start of another lawn and garden season."
Phosphorus-Free, Efficient Nitrogen Use
Two key initiatives related to the nutrient content of lawn fertilizers were announced today. First, by the end of 2012, phosphorus will be removed from ScottsMiracle-Gro's lawn fertilizers, which includes the market-leading Scotts® Turf Builder® brand. The Company began reducing phosphorus in its lawn food products in 2006, and today's announcement takes that commitment even further, as the Company has concluded that most lawns in the U.S. can flourish without supplemental phosphorus applications.
Additionally, the Company – which has one of the world's largest commitments to research and development in consumer lawn and garden care – also announced it is increasing its focus on more efficient and optimized ways to use nitrogen in its lawn fertilizer products through enhanced science and technology efforts. Nitrogen is a critical nutrient for maintaining healthy grass.
Because phosphorus is essential to the initial root development of grass, the nutrient will remain in the Company's starter fertilizers, which are used for new lawns. Phosphorus will also remain in ScottsMiracle-Gro's lines of organic lawn food as it naturally occurs in the organic materials contained in the products. The Company's enhanced exploration of nitrogen technology will commence immediately, anticipating that the initiative will lead to more efficient use of nitrogen in lawn fertilizers.
Consumer Communication Investment
Hagedorn also said a central part of ScottsMiracle-Gro's new initiative is a multi-year commitment to new consumer communication, education and grassroots outreach regarding water quality and conservation. This commitment includes incorporating water quality and conservation messaging into ScottsMiracle-Gro's consumer advertising, dedicated Web sites and other digital outreach tools for consumers as well as funding for educational outreach efforts with environmental partners and local organizations.
"We have seen the success of consumer education efforts regarding sustainable lawn care practices," said Hagedorn. "Making sure consumers know how they can get great results from our products while also protecting and preserving water is critical, which is why we're announcing this new commitment."
"Protecting water is a cornerstone of our sustainability efforts, but we cannot succeed on our own – we know we need to tap into the expertise and capabilities of others," said Richard Shank, Ph.D., and chief environmental officer for ScottsMiracle-Gro. Shank, a former director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, has also served as the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Shank continued, "While we are confident in the steps announced today, we know communities across the U.S. continue to struggle with water quality and conservation issues. We remain committed to offering educational resources that will allow community leaders to focus on larger sources of nutrient pollution and ultimately protect our environment."
As part of this effort, outreach programs will initially be developed in conjunction with the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the National Wildlife Federation, and the Company expects to partner with other organizations as the initiative progresses. Also, the Company will enhance its current partnership with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and make educational resources available through more than 600 KAB local affiliates for community education initiatives on stormwater runoff prevention and water conservation.
Third-Party Comments on Commitment
Joel Brammeier, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said the Company's decision should be applauded by water quality advocates around the United States.
"Today's choices by ScottsMiracle-Gro are a smart commitment to putting business to work for clean water," Brammeier said. "We look forward to continuing a partnership that helps put the Great Lakes on a healthy path for generations to come."
Also supporting today's announcement by ScottsMiracle-Gro was the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
"We applaud ScottsMiracle-Gro for taking this important step," said Larry Schweiger, NWF's president and chief executive officer. "Keeping our waterways clean and healthy is good for people and wildlife, and we look forward to helping ScottsMiracle-Gro educate the public about ways we all can help improve the quality of our water."
In addition, Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, lauded ScottsMiracle-Gro's announcement: "Restoring the Chesapeake Bay will require all sectors to take proactive steps towards reducing pollution. ScottsMiracle-Gro's initiative is a great example of a common sense contribution by an individual company that will have a significant and positive impact on the Bay clean-up effort."
Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Matt McKenna added: "We have seen repeatedly throughout our more than 40-year history that education is one of the most effective approaches to protecting the environment. Storm water education programs have been gaining popularity throughout the U.S. Given our strong network of more than 600 local affiliate organizations, we are proud that we'll be able to bring ScottsMiracle-Gro's commitment to education to communities across the country."
With approximately $3 billion in worldwide sales, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Scotts Company LLC, is the world's largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care. The Company's brands are the most recognized in the industry. In the U.S., the Company's Scotts®, Miracle-Gro® and Ortho® brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In Europe, the Company's brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligene® and Substral®. For additional information, visit us at www.scotts.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, which address activities, events or developments that the Company expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future, including, but not limited to, information regarding potential partnership opportunities and the Company's plans regarding future uses of nitrogen technology are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking information in this release due to a variety of factors. Detailed information concerning a number of the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information contained in this release is provided in the Company's publicly filed quarterly, annual and other reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which information is incorporated herein by reference. The Company disclaims any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements after the issuance of this release.
Contact: Lance Latham
Direct: (937) 644-7313
Cell: (937) 361-1263
SOURCE Scotts Miracle-Gro Company