The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), the nonprofit trade association representing over 120 companies in the US cleaning products industry — including BASF, Clorox, Dow, Novozymes, Method, Seventh Generation, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever, to name a few — has launched a new voluntary initiative to promote and demonstrate continual improvement in the cleaning products industry’s sustainability profile.
Unveiled this week during the ACI’s 2014 Annual Meeting & Industry Convention, the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning requires companies to have systems in place for continual assessment, review and improvement of sustainability performance, including raw material selection, resource use, and occupational health and safety, at every important stage of the product lifecycle.
The Charter exists as a guideline for best practices in sustainability and requires that charter companies:
- Formally commit to the ACI Principles for Sustainability
- Participate in ACI’s Sustainability Metrics Program
- Work toward implementing a set of Essential Sustainability Procedures and Activities (SPAs), which apply to the design, raw material use, manufacture, consumer use, and disposal of products and packaging, to become members of the Charter.
"By participating in the Charter, companies will have a means of demonstrating their commitment to continuous improvement in key aspects of sustainability relative to the cleaning product supply chain," said Ernie Rosenberg, ACI President & CEO.
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The Charter is based in part on the AISE Charter for Sustainable Cleaning, a voluntary initiative of the European soaps, detergents and maintenance products industry developed by ACI’s sister trade association, AISE.
"ACI’s Charter for Sustainable Cleaning creates a credible industry-wide initiative for continual assessment, review, and improvement of sustainability performance at major stages of the product lifecycle," said Brian Sansoni, ACI Vice President of Sustainability Initiatives. "In developing the ACI Charter over the past two years, we wanted to make sure it addressed the needs of both cleaning product manufacturers and chemical suppliers, which make up the bulk of ACI’s membership."
More and more leaders throughout the cleaning product supply chain are recognizing that operating sustainably needs to be a part of a company’s DNA. Firms are seeing sustainability-related questions and issues raised by all stakeholders, from customers and employees to retailers, consumers, investors, policymakers and other interest groups.
ACI’s 2013 Sustainability Report showed overall decreases by member companies in four environmental data categories: energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use and solid waste generation. The report also reflected continual adoption of sustainability practices within the members’ supply chains, and highlighted how ACI and its members are working to improve product safety and transparency and giving back to those in need through partnerships with organizations such as Clean the World and Cleaning For a Reason.
Another ACI member, P&G, announced this week that it is working to eliminate phosphates — chemicals known to disrupt ecosystem balance in waterways — from all of its laundry detergents worldwide by the end of 2015.