Investing in product development and research and development (R&D) strengthens our position with retailers and builds trust and support from the consumer. Comprising more than 100 on-staff research scientists, specialists and engineers, as well as collaborations with leading academic institutions, our world-class R&D team is committed to providing innovative product solutions. In pursuit of that goal, we leverage scientific expertise from leading providers of natural and organic technologies, plant breeders and agricultural companies.
As a company with a culture focused on family, we design products that create a better life for our families and our planet. Our portfolio includes products that control pests and diseases in order to protect environmentally favorable plantings and landscape investments. We are committed to using high-quality solutions that are appropriate for use by families in the residential environment. In selecting ingredients, we prioritize safety and performance to meet the needs of our gardeners and growers. We are committed to supporting a scientifically based regulatory system, educating consumers through communications and product labels and innovating to seek better solutions.
We monitor our active ingredients and look for ways to use the lowest active ingredient rate necessary while still maintaining high standards for product effectiveness. Our Packaging and Formulations teams drive new innovations that strive to maximize sustainably sourced content, eliminate unnecessary or problematic material and promote recovery, recycling and reuse. We explore new options to deliver our products to customers in ways that cut back on packaging and unnecessary waste and respond to our customers’ needs.
Research & development
R&D and product innovation are the cornerstone of ScottsMiracle-Gro, and each year we invest nearly $40 million in research, product development and innovation. Our product innovations follow a robust product development process. Each stage of this process includes established criteria for biology research, formulations and packaging development, marketing analysis and rigorous testing before moving forward to the next stage. Product development teams also consider our sustainability priorities related to formulation and packaging. Between each stage are technical and business vetting processes to ensure that the product concept is viable and we are meeting our research practice standards. As part of our sustainability strategy, a cross-functional team of R&D scientists and engineers has identified several priorities to integrate into the product development process.
Active ingredients. The R&D team conducts regular active ingredient reviews with an aim to balance priorities of safety, effectiveness and environmental impacts. We reference industry recognized scientific standards to guide us in assessing the severity of a potential hazard. We listen to our consumers and look at what is happening in the green chemistry and stewardship space. We explore opportunities to introduce active ingredients that align with our standards for product design and safety. We also practice transparency by listing active ingredients in our product portfolio and publishing a list of ingredients and their descriptions on our corporate website.
Material sourcing. When identifying raw materials, we look to increase the use of recycled, bio-based or sustainably sourced options. We also consider the risks and opportunities related to material sources.
Product design. We are introducing life-cycle assessment tools to help evaluate sustainability opportunities and impacts while optimizing our existing products and spurring innovation in new product design.
Packaging sustainability. Throughout the product development process, we look for opportunities to maximize sustainably sourced content, eliminate unnecessary or problematic material and promote recovery, recycling and reuse.
Our regulatory team provides rigorous, end-to-end oversight of the product development process. This team works to understand federal and state requirements from the start and ensure every product meets or exceeds their standards. Over the past decade, we have invested in continuous improvement by enhancing the separation of duties amongst the regulatory team and adding multiple internal compliance monitoring steps and checkpoints. Our Board of Directors includes a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator who further advises us on these improvements.
We prioritize human health, the environment and efficacy when designing our products. Our product development is guided by consumers’ needs and academic research expertise to ensure that we are using up-to-date scientific research and meeting the emerging interests of our customers.
In selecting ingredients for our products, we consider the following:
- Safety to humans
- Safety to animals
- Impact on the environment
- Interaction with other ingredients
- Interaction with the product packaging
- Lowest active ingredient rate necessary for product effectiveness