The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

2019 Sustainability Report


Report Cover

ACI's 2019 Sustainability Report details a new strategy calling on the cleaning products industry to take bolder, collective action to achieve a cleaner world.

Grounded in the key aspirations we all have for our society, ACI’s sustainability strategy aims to unite industry efforts for greater impact to increase transparency, reduce emissions, value nature and contribute positively.


  • How We Lead

    We’re Shaping a Clean Future: Q&A With Melissa Hockstad, President and CEO of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI)®

    Melissa HockstadHow has ACI progressed its sustainability work since your last report?

    Since our last report in 2017, we’ve really prioritized sustainability, developing a new strategy to unite the cleaning products industry under a clear vision for our future. We’re pushing a proactive, forward-thinking approach by encouraging the industry to be bolder and to take collective action for greater impact across a set of four critical goals. With our new strategy and goals, it’s about doing our part to contribute to broader global ambitions.

    With so many diverse members, how do you engage effectively with them?

    One of the amazing things about our work is being able to bring different companies together, from those that manufacture formulated products to those that are producing chemical ingredients. We are a connector. ACI is uniquely positioned to unite members and facilitate the sharing of sustainability knowledge and best practices. By taking a step further and aligning around a shared vision, we have been able to find a way for everyone to be involved, regardless of their role within the industry.

    Would you see yourselves as leaders  on sustainability?

    Absolutely! I’ve always been proud of the fact that ACI was an early mover on sustainability 15 years ago. Since then, we’ve worked with the industry and beyond to help set goals, track progress and push innovations. Together, these are making a real difference to our industry’s footprint.

    The next decade could be crucial for the environment – where do you see ACI’s contribution helping?

    We know that combating climate change needs swift and strong action. We’re pushing our members to act fast, think bigger, be fearless and implement ever-more innovative solutions. The actions taken collectively in the next five to ten years could shape our planet for decades, maybe centuries to come; so we all have to take the courageous steps needed to get it right. For ACI, we want to bring the industry together to lead a movement toward a clean and sustainable world.

  • What We Have Been Doing

    High Level Sustainability Stats

    Developing Our Sustainability Organization

    Over 15 years ago, we brought our membership together for the first time to discuss sustainability and to consider how ACI could enable sustainable improvements in the cleaning products supply chain. Today, we have a sustainability committee of over 50 companies, which is directly connected  to our Board of Directors and supported by a Director of Sustainability.

    Filling Knowledge Gaps

    One of the first steps in our sustainability journey was to provide opportunities for members to learn and share knowledge and information across the industry. To support this, we have held 25 webinars since  2012 on subjects ranging from managing water risks to integrating the  UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into business strategy.

    Harnessing the Power of Convening

    As an association of more than 140 members, we are in a unique position to facilitate joint efforts on a shared sustainability vision. As we advance to the next level in our sustainability strategy, achieving consensus on what matters most was a significant milestone for our industry. It has enabled us, collectively, to identify common goals and move forward together in seeking ways to address the sustainability challenges facing our globe.

    Uniting for a Cleaner World

    Uniting for a Cleaner World is the name we’ve given our new sustainability strategy. The strategy will guide our efforts toward a clean future. Uniting for a Cleaner World combines our core strength of collaboration with our commitment to do our part as an industry. Our strategy unites us around four global visions: working for the good health and well-being of all people; acting to limit climate change; driving toward a more circular economy; and advancing the SDGs.

  • Our Sustainability Goals

    Across our membership, we're uniting for a cleaner world to achieve common goals.

    Learn About Our Goals

    Goal Chart

  • Report Details

    We Look to the Future

    As a collective voice for the industry, ACI has both a role and a responsibility to help our members forward on issues that matter to us all, in a way that amplifies the individual actions they can – and do – take to progress sustainability. Sustainability challenges are enormous and global, and among the most important issues facing the planet. Only collective action at scale can truly tackle them and create the sustainable, cleaner, healthier world we all want. We therefore support and foster collaboration between members and externally with multi-stakeholder initiatives and other key partners to maximize the impact for good we can make.

    Our members tell us they want us to continue driving the industry and providing a space where they can convene with peers, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders to agree on the joint actions we need to take. ACI will continue to fulfill this role, to track and promote our members’ innovations, and help them find new ways of tackling the challenges ahead, as we help build a cleaner future. 

    About This Report

    This report is ACI’s fifth Sustainability Report for the cleaning products industry, covering the period from early 2017 to early 2019.

    Metric data within this report (for GHG emissions, energy, water use, waste generation/disposal, and health and safety) represent aggregated performance of a set of ACI member companies participating in the ACI Sustainability Metrics Program in 2018. To maintain long-term comparability and provide confidence in trend analysis, a Baseline Maintenance Method is used to dampen year-to-year data volatility due to changes in members’ participation. Because of these adjustments, caution should be used when making comparisons with ACI’s previous sustainability reports.

    Our Material Issues

    In 2015, ACI undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the risks and opportunities most significant to a company’s success. We were one of the first organizations to do so on an industry-wide basis. The information we gathered ensures we adopt an appropriate strategy and targets,  and are able to make meaningful progress.

    Our materiality evaluation found over 30 relevant issues, of which the most important were identified as:

    • Materials
    • Disclosure and transparency
    • Climate change/greenhouse gases
    • Ecological impacts
    • Water
    • Workplace health and safety

    ACI prioritizes our sustainability activities around these key issues, tracking our industry’s performance and providing members with the tools, advice, support and guidance they need to make real, meaningful progress.

    See our full materiality matrix here.

    Acknowledging Our People

    We especially thank our member representatives for their contributions: Committee Chair Chris Hammond (Stepan), Committee Vice-Chair Elizabeth Kinney (P&G), and Board Liaisons Rick Hanson (Croda) and Wayne Ashton (DuPont).

    Sustainability Strategy and Content Development

    A special thanks to Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for their work in support of the ACI Metrics Program, Framework LLC for their help in aligning our strategies and practices with social, environmental and economic needs, and Flag Communication for the design and production of our 2019 Sustainability Report.

    Stay in Touch

    Please reach out if you have any questions, comments  or would like to help us reach our goals. Email:

  • Our Future is Clean

    Our Future is Clean is ACI’s bold new campaign highlighting the cleaning industry’s efforts toward a clean, sustainable world and to promote consumers’ health and well-being.

    Learn About Our Campaign