Consumer goods giants team up in bid to lower environmental impacts

Clorox, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Henkel are among a group of consumer goods businesses selling cleaning products to have co-launched a campaign aimed at driving the sector towards "net-positive" environmental and social impact.

The campaign covers three key sustainability issues: greenhouse gas emissions, supply chain transparency and the circular economy. Image: ACI

The campaign covers three key sustainability issues: greenhouse gas emissions, supply chain transparency and the circular economy. Image: ACI

Called “Our Future is Clean”, the campaign is being facilitated by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) – a business-led organization representing the US cleaning products supply chain.

The ACI estimates that, while the firms it covers represent $60bn to the global economy, they account for 0.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions – excluding emissions relating from cleaning-related activities at consumer level.

To that end, the campaign will showcase the decarbonisation progress being made by firms classed as sustainability leaders in the cleaning product sector, while also urging other firms to take more ambitious and rapid action.

The ACI claims that direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions from the cleaning product formulation sub-sector fell more than one-third (37%) between 2008 and 2018, largely through investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and circular economy measures.

Nonetheless, 46% of ACI members do not produce public reports detailing their emissions on an annual basis, while 66% have not set time-bound numerical targets to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency or increase the use of renewable energy.

Other key focusses for “Our Future is Clean” will be on product transparency and circular economy measures.

On the former, the ACI is pushing for its members to provide evidence to consumers that its products “have been made with respect for people and the environment” after its own survey of 1,000 US-based adults found that two-thirds did not feel knowledgeable about such information when buying their favourite products. The Institute lists more than 500 ingredients which firms should be providing more information in its Ingredient Safety Initiative to assist with this process.

And, on the circular economy, the campaign will showcase how ACI members are redesigning packaging and taking part in cross-industry collaborations in a bid to minimise their plastics footprint, while acknowledging that less than one-third (32%) are working towards a time-bound target for 100% recyclability across their plastic packaging portfolios.

“We’re pushing our members to think bigger, be fearless and implement ever-more innovative solutions,” the ACI’s president and chief executive Melissa Hockstad said.

“A meaningful commitment to operating sustainably must reach every corner of a company and every component of the supply chain,” P&G’s president of fabric care and professional for North America, Sundar Ramanm added.

“As highlighted, the ACI is stepping up on sustainability by uniting the industry around a shared vision that can move us collectively towards a brighter future for all.”

Sarah George



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