American Cleaning Institute releases sustainability report

American Cleaning Institute calls on industry to take bolder, collective action.

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has launched its 2019 Sustainability Report, which details its new strategy calling on the cleaning products industry to take bolder, collective action to achieve a cleaner world.

ACI’s sustainability strategy aims to unite industry efforts for greater impact across four critical goals:

  • Increase transparency
  • Reduce emissions
  • Value nature
  • Contribute positively

Melissa Hockstad, ACI president and CEO, said the organisation is pushing its members to think bigger, be fearless and implement more innovative solutions.

“Our new strategy combines our core strength of collaboration with a commitment to doing our part as an industry to address the sustainability challenges facing our globe,” Hockstad said.

ACI’s 2019 Sustainability Report details these new goals and how its more than 140 member companies have already started taking action. For instance, ACI members are:

  • Helping consumers choose products that are best for them by sharing more information about their products and practices through digital means
  • Shifting to preferred products and ingredients that meet third-party human and environmental safety requirements
  • Managing and reducing the use of hazardous chemicals through approaches like chemical footprinting
  • Setting operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets that support the ambition of the Paris Agreement
  • Setting goals, developing products and pushing forward initiatives to increase use of cold water in laundry
  • Joining global alliances to clean up our world and limit plastic waste
  • Utilising new circular approaches to packaging and simplifying the consumer experience.

Sundar Raman, president, fabric care, North America, and P&G Professional, Global, Procter & Gamble, and chair of ACI’s board of directors, said a meaningful commitment to operating sustainably must reach every corner of a company and every component of the supply chain.

“As highlighted in this Report, ACI is stepping up on sustainability by uniting the industry around a shared vision that can move us collectively towards a brighter future for all.”

Supporting this new strategy, ACI also announced Our Future Is Clean, a new campaign that will launch during National Cleaning Week, from 22 March until 28 March, 2020.

The campaign will highlight how the cleaning products supply chain is working toward a clean, sustainable world, promoting health and well-being, and seeking to make a real difference through bold commitments and actions.

Reducing emissions to confront climate change

Effective climate action is needed on many fronts, including supporting customers to be environmentally conscious, creating innovative, low-impact products and driving down manufacturing greenhouse gas emissions.

Across cleaning product formulators, operational emissions have fallen 37 per cent in the last decade, while renewable energy use has risen 19 percent, according to data collected by ACI.

In 2018, 54 per cent of ACI members published their previous year’s GHG emissions through some form of public report or reporting system.

Forty-four per cent have set targets to reduce GHG emissions, improve energy efficiency or increase the use of renewable energy, while 18 companies have taken further steps to align commitments within science-based limits or are seeking to power their operations from 100 per cent renewable sources.

Transparent information

ACI research suggests that, although most people are moderately confident they are choosing products that are safe, some are not confident at all.

Only one-third of consumers say they feel knowledgeable about the information that is most important to them.

Consumers want to see the evidence of safe, effective products that have been made with respect for people and the environment.

ACI said its recognises its members have a responsibility to provide the information consumers seek and are committed to helping meet that need.

Within the next year, more information than ever will be available for cleaning products sold across the US as a result of new laws.

This includes full lists of product ingredients, details about fragrances and additional scientifically focused safety information, like what is currently provided for more than 500 individual ingredients in ACI’s Ingredient Safety Initiative.

Valuing Nature by shifting toward a circular economy

With the increasing scarcity of natural resources, ACI acknowledges the need for a new type of thinking in an effort to move globally toward a more circular economy.

Wherever possible, the industry must seek to reduce, reuse or recycle in order to avoid depleting the planet’s natural resources.

ACI companies are combating natural resource depletion, pollution and waste through new product forms, packaging redesign and collective efforts to eliminate problematic or unnecessary packaging and prevent plastic pollution in our oceans.

Thirty-two per cent of ACI formulators have a goal to reach 100 per cent recyclable packaging, and many are modifying labels to helping consumers recycle more easily.

Contributing positively to a more sustainable world

ACI supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a clear path to make a real impact for good across the globe – in health, hygiene, human rights, education, inclusion and equality for all.

Companies aligning their business priorities and sustainability strategies with the SDGs is a critical step. Forty-three ACI members are already aligning their strategies with the SDGs or are reporting their impact.

“With our wide membership and their vast consumer base, ACI is ideally positioned to unite members around a shared sustainability vision. Together, we are taking the courageous steps needed to help shape our planet for decades, maybe centuries to come,” Hockstad said.

Read the ACI’s 2019 Sustainability Report here.

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