Senior Director, Sustainability

American Cleaning Institute Published: July 23, 2021
Washington, DC
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director / Corporate Sustainability / Certification

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The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet.

From its humble beginnings in 1926, the Association of American Soap and Glycerine Producers recognized the importance of providing science-based approaches in cleaning products to consumers that would keep them healthy, safe, and living fulfilled lives. One year later, the Cleanliness Institute was founded by the Association to teach the value of hygiene.

The name was changed to The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) around 1960 to reflect the evolution of cleaning products from strictly soap-based to include those based on synthetic surface-active agents. SDA relocated to Washington, DC in 2000.

The rapid globalization of business and commerce further enlarged SDA’s scope of operations but in a different way. The international harmonization, environmental and health initiatives involving chemical products threatened the ability of manufacturers to make products in the U.S. that meet consumer needs economically. SDA understood the negative potential of these initiatives and devoted significant intellectual and material resources to promoting the use of scientific concepts and standards that are recognized by both the industry and the U.S. Government as well as by international entities and organizations.

Recognizing the need to rebrand itself in order to better represent all of the products it represented, SDA changed its name to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) in January 2010. The decision was appropriately reflected at the time by Jane Hutterly, EVP of Worldwide Corporate & Environmental Affairs of SC Johnson (former 2010 SDA Board Chair): "Since 1926 SDA has been a leader in demonstrating the safe, proper and beneficial use of cleaning products. SDA’s transformation to the American Cleaning Institute will make our information easier to access, more consumer friendly, and more relevant in the digital age."

Today, ACI remains committed to improving lives through scientific research and education-based results. ACI continues to be uniquely positioned to enhance the reputation of its members as positive contributors to people’s lives as well as to communities worldwide.

Position Overview - Senior Director, Sustainability

ACI sits at a significant moment with increased member engagement and consumer awareness around sustainability, the Senior Director of Sustainability will continue the incredible progress to date and drive ongoing impact and influence in the sustainability area. There is a great opportunity to build on the strong foundation with an invested leadership team, committed resources and staff, and sustainability as a strategic pillar.

This newly elevated position is responsible for leading, developing, and executing all facets of the ACI sustainability programs. The Senior Director, Sustainability will serve as a thought leader, partner to the executive leadership team, and drives the development of ACI’s sustainability strategy in a manner that is relevant for the cleaning industry and maintains the Institute’s leadership in this space.

In addition to driving ACI’s member facing sustainability programs, the Senior Director manages and develops internal programs, contract execution, and expands scientific understanding of sustainability tools and measurement approaches. The Senior Director, Sustainability directs external outreach on sustainability issues, and holds oversight of relevant member committee(s) and corresponding budget(s). 

The Senior Director will have a high degree of both internal and external facing responsibilities. This leader will most immediately work with ACI staff and serve as a sustainability liaison to the Board of Directors to ensure that ACI’s sustainability program aligns with the strategic goals of the Institution. The Senior Director will also provide management to the Sustainability Committee, as well as other advisory committees as needed. Externally, the Senior Director will interact extensively with industry groups, including the Sustainability Consortium, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), retailers and vendors.

Key Responsibilities

The Senior Director, Sustainability will lead and execute all facets of sustainability within ACI. Among the chief responsibilities and strategic duties, the Senior Director primary responsibilities will include:

  • Leading comprehensive sustainability efforts and outreach activities throughout ACI to consist of developing ACI’s strategic and tactical sustainability efforts, including:
    1. Develop methodologies to assess the success of ACI sustainability initiatives.
    2. Developing and implementing ACI’s long-term sustainability strategy to execute the priorities established by the Board of Directors and to advance the overall industry impact with demonstrated results.
    3. Managing and updating ACI’s sustainability framework and goals.
    4. Engagement of relevant ACI groups in sustainability programs, including the Board of Directors.
  • Managing ACI’s Sustainability Committee and related work groups and task forces, including:
    1. Planning, managing, and overseeing relevant budgets, as they pertain to assigned work programs, including contracts with vendors.
    2. Managing specific expert groups, as assigned.
  • Identifying, building, and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders to help advance ACI’s sustainability strategies and programs. Establishing and leading multi-stakeholder coalitions as needed.
  • Understanding the broader industry landscape to actively contribute to shaping the industry’s strategy.
  • Developing and overseeing programs that showcase the industry’s progress in sustainability.
  • Developing and administering communication plans aimed at expanding visibility of ACI’s sustainability programs both internally and externally utilizing relevant ACI functions and resources.
  • Developing and maintaining programs that aid the industry in implementing sustainability practices.
  • Expanding understanding of sustainability tools and measurement approaches through technical and research projects that influence life cycle models; environmental, social, and economic hotspot assessments; and relevant standards.
  • Integrating sustainable values and practices into the Institute’s strategic planning processes, programs, advocacy positions, meetings, and events.
  • Communicating across all levels of the organization on ACI sustainability programs and progress.
  • Providing scientific sustainability support across ACI programs, as needed
  • Representing ACI at industry, academic, government, and NGO-sponsored meetings and conferences on sustainability.
  • Identifying, building, and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders to help advance ACI’s sustainability strategies and programs. Establishing and leading multi-stakeholder coalitions as needed.
  • Supervising the work of ACI staff and student interns related to sustainability.

Contacts Arising From The Position

 A. With Institute Staff:

  • Interacts with all ACI staff.

B. With Institute Members:

  • Interacts with ACI members.
  • Works with Sustainability liaisons from the Board of Directors to ensure that ACI’s sustainability program aligns with strategic goals of the industry.
  • Provides management for the Sustainability Committee, as well as other advisory committees, when needed.

C. Outside Institute:

  • Extensive interaction with industry groups, including The Sustainability Consortium, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), retailers and vendors. 


  • A minimum fifteen years’ leadership experience with demonstrated management and solid business sense with an emphasis on focused planning and procedures, budgeting expertise, and a propensity towards strategic thinking and planning.
  • A strong knowledge of ACI policy issues and strong familiarity with sustainability processes and procedures.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated analytical, strategic, relationship building and interpersonal skills.
  • Developed project management skills and follow-through which includes assessing a problem, obtaining, and evaluating appropriate facts, and reaching sound and timely solutions.
  • Strategic mindset with a results and solutions-oriented ethos; ability to identify connections and leverage opportunities across an organization.
  • Demonstrated interest in domestic and global sustainability affairs and institutional best practices.


  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in a technical, scientific, or related field required.


  • A competitive compensation package will be offered to the finalist candidate. 

Application Process

  • Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to click "Apply" below to email a resume and cover letter. 

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