The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Committing to Key Issues


Hand planting seeds

Materiality assessments provide a comprehensive evaluation of the risks and opportunities most significant to a company’s mid- to long-term success.

In 2015, ACI became one of the first organizations to perform such an analysis on an industry-wide basis. Doing so has allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the sustainability issues that matter most to companies and stakeholders. Now we are using this knowledge to lay the foundation for meaningful progress on the issues that matter most across our value chain.

This analysis represented an aggregation of issues across the value chain. It is important to note that each stage of the value chain had a unique set of issues deemed relevant. Our analysis highlighted those issues common across all stages.

The materiality assessment process identified ten issues of importance to the cleaning products industry that stood out from a list of over thirty potential issues.

List of potential issues

Following the completion of the assessment, ACI underwent a process to verify the results and learn more about the challenges and opportunities that exist with respect to the top identified issues. We reached out to a number of external sustainability experts for an in-depth dialogue around the results and the top five material issues (materials, disclosure and transparency, ecological impacts, water, and workplace health and safety). These stakeholders provided additional confirmation of our priorities and a vast array of opportunities for the industry to consider.

Turning Toward Meaningful Action

ACI is prioritizing our sustainability activities around these critical issues. We endeavor to improve the way we track industry performance, and commit to continuing our long-held strategy of providing our industry with the tools and guidance they need to make steps toward meaningful progress.

Most importantly, we will aim to use our influence to guide our industry toward bolder collective action. We want to play a bigger role in bringing our industry together and leading actions that will help us course toward sustainable development.

Methodology Overview

ACI’s materiality assessment was conducted by Framework LLC, an independent consultancy recognized for its expertise in materiality analysis. It followed a process developed specifically for an industry-level evaluation.

The process began with the creation of a value-chain map representative of the cleaning products industry, which provided a clear view of our industry’s many stakeholders and ensured representation across the identified stages. Simultaneously, a comprehensive list of potentially material issues was developed as a basis for the analysis.

A representative sample of ACI member companies was then surveyed and interviewed to determine the potential impacts each issue could have on the industry. Select industry documents were also reviewed to supplement this direct engagement. Source documents representing the views of nine external stakeholder segments (including NGOs and governmental agency reports) were carefully evaluated to determine the level of stakeholder concern on each issue. These analyses were conducted individually at each stage of the value chain.

The stakeholder and industry results from each value chain stage were then synthesized in a manner that gave equal representation to all identified stages. Finally, a materiality matrix was developed to illustrate the key issues for the industry as a whole. We will use this set of issues to inform conversations with our membership, and will periodically revisit the findings of this assessment.