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CleaningMatters logo sm March/April 2012

Removing Stains, Reducing Footprints

ACI Releases First-Ever Sustainability Report Findings

American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) member companies aren't only working hard to develop products that keep your home clean. They are also constantly striving for ways to clean up themselves – namely, by reducing their environmental impact. Sustainability reports are useful in sharing information about achieving this important goal.A group of ACI member companies participated in the ACI Sustainability Metrics Project, a program that provided data on energy and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), water use, and hazardous and nonhazardous waste generation that is associated with the U.S. production of cleaning products."Through our first-ever public Sustainability Report, ACI wants to better inform key audiences about our progress and identify where we have challenges to address," said Ernie Rosenberg, ACI President and CEO. "We're taking a few small steps forward with this metrics project that will place our industry in a leadership position on measuring and reporting sustainability, and we plan to build and expand upon this effort through the sustainability journey that lies ahead."

Why is this report important?

In tracking energy use, companies can compare themselves to industry averages, set reduction goals and work to find ways to improve. The same holds true for water, which is used in all facets of ACI-related products – from raw-material production, to manufacturing, to end consumer use. And if manufacturers can measure the amount of waste they produce and dispose, they can discover ways to reduce their impact on the environment as well as reduce the cost of production.

What did we learn?

  • Total energy use decreased by approximately 18% per ton of production.
  • The rate of GHG emission per unit of production decreased by approximately 25%.
  • Water use decreased by approximately 10% per unit of production.
  • Waste generation per unit of production decreased between 2008 and 2009, but increased by about 2% overall between 2007 and 2009. (This increase is attributed largely to an increase in waste by a single company whose overall waste generation is much higher than the others.)

"A number of ACI member companies have been at the forefront of sustainability reporting for the past decade," said Rosenberg. "Many more are beginning to talk about how sustainability is an important part of their daily business activities.""While this Sustainability Report is new, our industry's social responsibility efforts are not," Rosenberg said. "We have contributed to enhanced public health, social welfare and education for years. Our members have been reducing the environmental footprint of their products literally for decades. We should be proud of our history and enthusiastic about what we will contribute – economically, socially and environmentally – in the years ahead."

 

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