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Sustaining Progress

May 05, 2011
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In the first-ever report of its kind, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), formerly the Soap and Detergent Association, worked with 20 member companies over two years to report on common sustainability metrics to establish a benchmark.

The data compiled represents a snapshot of the environmental factors associated with the U.S. cleaning products industry, including greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, water usage and waste generated by producers and suppliers.

“Establishing these metrics provides a baseline for indicators by which we can measure sustainability-related performance for the production of cleaning products at ACI member manufacturing facilities in the United States,” ACI President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ernie Rosenberg said.

ACI''s 2011 Sustainability Report also touches upon the JanSan industry''s social and environmental sustainability programs and activities.

Quantifying The Data

Findings of the report, which utilized data compiled between 2007 and 2009, include some eye-opening and positive developments.

As noted in the report, between 2007 and 2009, total energy use, which includes electricity, steam and fuel used by stationary combustion sources, decreased by approximately 18 percent per ton of production.

The reduction in energy usage helped the U.S. cleaning products industry achieve a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Also covered in the report is the 10 percent overall reduction in water usage per unit of production.

The one blemish uncovered by the data compilation concerns the two percent increase in trash generation during the two-year period.

What these figures tell us is that, while the U.S. cleaning products industry has made great sustainable strides as of late, there are still aspects of sustainable business operation that require attention and can be significantly improved.

“Through our 2011 Sustainability Report, ACI wants to better inform key audiences about our progress and identify where we have challenges to address,” added Rosenberg. “We are taking a few small steps forward with this metrics project, and we plan to build and expand upon this effort through the sustainability journey that lies ahead.”

To view the report in its entirety, complete with a commentary from Rosenberg and profiles of the participating ACI member companies, visit

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