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Change in Our Industry

Applauding Change in our Industry

We celebrated the fulfillment in 2010 of two important victories that will boost the sustainability of our industry!

Voluntary phosphate ban: On July 1, 2010, many members of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI — formerly the Soap and Detergent Association) began to abide by a voluntary ban on phosphates in household dishwasher detergents that was agreed to in 2008. As phosphates are harmful to the aquatic environment, Seventh Generation does not use them. They were banned from laundry products in the 1990s and at least 16 states prohibit them in dishwasher detergents but a national prohibition is lacking. We expect this voluntary ban to have a tremendous effect. Our Product Sustainability and Authenticity Director Martin Wolf has been working for a decade to protect our lakes and streams through his participation in ACI working groups and his testimony in state legislative hearings, and counts this as one of his proudest moments. Learn more on our blog.

Ingredient Disclosure: In another momentous break with the past, many ACI members (including all the major players in the cleaning products market) agreed to voluntarily disclose the ingredients in their products beginning on January 1, 2010. Although the voluntary program allows disclosure on product labels, most companies are disclosing their ingredients on special websites rather than on their labels. Seventh Generation believes that product ingredient information should be available right on the product.

One look at a Seventh Generation label will convince you that we take ingredient disclosure very seriously. We believe consumers have the right to know what ingredients we use and to understand their purpose in each product. But, unbelievably (to us, anyway), there is no requirement — as there is for food items and cosmetics — that would allow consumers to learn what is in their cleaning products. Through years of hard work within ACI, Martin has used Seventh Generation’s experience to demonstrate the importance of disclosure and to sway his industry counterparts. Absent national legislation, industry members coming together to agree to do the right thing is reason enough for celebration.