Find out how your cleaning sustainability plan can move beyond the implementation obstacles and become a sparkling success.
There’s a good chance that you’ve thought about implementing or improving your green cleaning program. Businesses across industries are embracing sustainability and recognizing the importance of eco-friendly practices. And this isn’t just from the business side of things. There’s little question that clients are looking to hire janitorial teams with a commercial cleaning sustainability plan in place.
A study by The Economist found that online searches for sustainable goods have increased globally by 71% since 2016. In the U.S., searches for sustainable goods increased a whopping 450% between 2016 and 2020! Meanwhile, 65% of consumers say that brands and businesses are just as responsible as the government for implementing “positive social change.” And a 2020 survey from McKinsey & Company found that 60% of consumers are willing to “pay more for a product with sustainable packaging.”
More specifically to the cleaning industry, Smithers, a consulting and testing company that helps clients innovate, develop, and produce new products, reports that the expected annual growth rate of environmentally friendly cleaning products is 8.5% through 2026, as compared to a growth rate of 4.1% for all cleaning products.
Meanwhile, Chemical & Engineering News reports that commercial cleaning sustainability practices were a hot topic at a recent American Cleaning Institute annual meeting.
It’s clear that sustainability is important. That means if you want your business to thrive, you need to ensure you have an effective and successful plan.
Ready to strengthen employee and customer relationships? Let’s start the conversation! Reach out today for more info.
What does commercial cleaning sustainability mean?
Your first step in a commercial cleaning sustainability plan is determining what sustainability means for your company. While each business will have unique situations, there are some universal ideas and practices that can help you reach your goals.
For example, replacing old equipment with new, energy-efficient models could be one step you take. Similarly, keeping your equipment in good condition can also be a sustainable approach. You might also switch to microfiber cloths and mops as you replace worn-out supplies. On the higher end of the scale, switching to electric vehicles for your fleet can reduce the amount of fossil fuels you consume. Not to mention, a switch to electric can also cut your transportation and upkeep expenses. No oil changes!
A cleaning sustainability plan is about more than just equipment, though. The most obvious component is environmentally-friendly cleaning products. A simple way to find these products is to look for Design for the Environment, EcoLogo, or Green Seal certification. You can read more about these products here and here.
Sustainability is also about efficiency in how you order and maintain inventory. For example, concentrates require less packaging and transportation costs than ready-to-use products.
Another important aspect of sustainability is the social component. It means buying from responsible manufacturers and caring for your employees. That could mean anything from higher wages to benefits to profit sharing. And though that might initially seem stressful, remember that consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services.
Your 5-step guide to success with sustainability
It’s one thing to know what commercial cleaning sustainability means. It’s another thing altogether to implement a program. Depending on where you are on your journey, it could take some work. So don’t get discouraged if the process takes some time. Sustainability is an ongoing practice as much as it is a procedural change.
1. Conduct a sustainability audit. It’s easier to set goals and know where to begin when you know your current standing. For example, you may already use Green Seal-certified products for some of your clients. You may have a robust maintenance system for your equipment. Or you’ve switched to microfiber cloths already, given their efficiency.
2. Set goals. Once you know your starting point, set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, a SMART goal would be to switch to 100% green cleaning products within 60 days. That’s a specific and measurable number; it’s a high but achievable goal relevant to a commercial cleaning sustainability plan, and you have a time frame. Contrast that with, say, switching to 100% green cleaning products within two days. That’s specific, measurable, relevant, and time-bound, but it’s probably not achievable.
3. Evaluate your product options. While your equipment should be considered as part of your commercial cleaning sustainability plan, switching products is much more immediate and achievable in most cases. Look for high-quality products, as well as those that have refillable, recyclable, or compostable packaging.
4. Involve your team. Your team plays a big role in this plan. Share your goals with them and let them know how they can help. Conduct training on any new equipment, products, and protocols. And be sure to let them know what’s in it for them, such as safer working conditions and better air quality, as well as bonuses, higher wages, or whatever benefits they might see from their efforts.
5. Work efficiently. Efficiency is one key to sustainability. That applies to the products and equipment you use as well as your administrative practices. These practices include things like carefully tracking your inventory so you can eliminate wasteful rush ordering. Scheduling clients in the most efficient order to economize on transportation costs and fuel use is another way to work more efficiently.
Sustainability is a goal worth pursuing. There are financial and moral incentives, and the evidence points toward the fact that your clients are, or soon will be, looking for commercial cleaners that embrace sustainable practices.
If you’re ready to increase the professionalism of your cleaning operation through better organization, easy access to important data, unparalleled tracking, and more, schedule a call with JM today!