Despite the misconception that going green is costly, businesses with sustainability strategies perform better financially. Businesses are increasingly responding to customer demands for social responsibility. In fact, as of 2019, 90% of business leaders say consumers would hold them accountable for their company’s environmental impact. To meet the need for environmental responsibility, companies are looking for ways to go green throughout their operations, including their cleaning programs. As an active member of the Building Service Contractor’s Association, WOW! Building Maintenance has many resources at its disposal to maintain the highest standards and practices in Green Cleaning.
Sustainability efforts also benefit a brand’s reputation with customers, employees, and all other facility patrons. According to a 2020 study by IBM Institute for Business Value, almost 80% of Americans values sustainability, and nearly 60% would change their purchasing habits to reduce negative environmental impact. Reducing water and energy usage as well as reducing plastic waste through a green cleaning program are ways that organizations can demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact on the environment.
Steps to Implement a Sustainable Cleaning Program
To promote a culture of sustainability in your facility, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- The number one thing to do at the start of any project is to establish key performance indicators (KPI’s). Establish measurable goals for your green cleaning program. Make sure your team understands the importance of meeting sustainability commitments. Establish an achievable timeline for achieving milestones such as: Having 30% more products made from recycled materials in inventory, reducing plastic waste by 20%, and communicating building occupant awareness of your efforts with signage in all restrooms and entrances.
- Perform a program assessment. Evaluate your current cleaning program to identify areas for improvement. Ask yourself questions such as: How can we significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate? Are there more sustainable products we can use instead? How much carbon is being emitted into the environment the bring products to our facility? The answers to these questions will help you to develop the blueprint for your sustainability strategy.
- Evaluate cleaning chemicals. Assess the ingredients of chemicals to ensure you are not unnecessarily. purchasing multiples that accomplish the same task, such as for hard surface disinfection. Utilize products that reduce the environmental impact and waste associated with their production and disposal.
- Validate credentials. Many products may make claims to be sustainable without science or third-party validation to support their claims. When selecting products, check for certifications from organizations such as Green Seal® with rigorous standards for sustainability. Also, look for products that are recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification as part of a green facility.
Reduce Cost, Increase Productivity
Developing a green cleaning program can help your organization’s goals to fulfill a commitment to employees, customers, and the environment. By incorporating certified sustainable products into your facility maintenance program, you are assuring the community as well as your employees of your commitment to doing your part to protect the planet. Additionally, green cleaning supports employee health and wellness. Reduced productivity due to sick days can cost a company at least $2,660 per worker every year. Green cleaning with safer certified products such as Green Seal® products improves indoor air quality and helps minimize allergy and asthma symptoms, thereby reducing costly absenteeism.