As protestors pour onto the streets around the world, it’s hard to ignore the issue of climate change and our industry’s place in the wider world. Last year, we reached a watershed moment when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we only have 12 years to act if we want to prevent a global catastrophe.
With the clock still ticking away, companies in the professional cleaning and hygiene industry have to realise that environmental responsibility and sustainability are fast becoming a requirement simply to continue attracting customers.
More and more people are signalling their support for drastic action to meet climate change targets. This means that, around the world, companies are waking up to the fact that they can’t simply carry on with business as usual. Things need to change – and soon.
Innovating to drive sustainability in professional cleaning
Fortunately, providers in the professional cleaning and hygiene industry have been hard at work for years, innovating to create more sustainable products and services. There’s a real shift taking place as companies get on board, but there’s still plenty to do. That’s why we’ve put together four effective ways to improve sustainability in your business:
1. Find your purpose in the Circular Economy
Let’s start with the big one. For decades, companies around the world have known that creating a viable business model that generates profits and creates employment isn’t enough to connect them to their local communities. The relationship needs to go deeper – it needs to have shared goals; it needs to have purpose.
This search for purpose is why charity partnerships exist in business, with companies and their team members giving something back to those who need it most. However, as the climate crisis becomes ever-more pressing, business leaders are realising that they need to focus on the environment – at a local and global level.
You can no longer afford to talk a good game when it comes to sustainability if you can’t or don’t back the rhetoric up with action. That’s why you must invest in the Circular Economy, helping to create sustainable ecosystems both locally and worldwide.
2. Bring total visibility to your supply chain
You might wonder why – when you’re in the middle of developing your own sustainable business processes – it’s up to you to make sure your suppliers have one eye on environmental responsibility as well. Surely, they should be getting their own house in order, right?
Unfortunately for you, that’s not how the new age of accountability works. You might purchase environmentally friendly products or chemicals, but does that really count if the company you buy them from doesn’t operate in a sustainable fashion? You can be sure that your customers are asking the same questions about you as a supplier.
The way to head this issue off is to introduce transparency to your supply chain so that you have complete visibility of where, when and how products and services are delivered. When you can see exactly how your supply chain works, you can make smarter choices about who you buy from and why.
3. Pivot to preventing waste, rather than managing it
As we’ve mentioned before, waste management is a key area that businesses need to focus on in their quest to become more sustainable. Just because you don’t have to see the waste your business creates doesn’t mean it isn’t contributing to a major global issue. It’s a problem that companies are desperately trying to solve, but the main obstacle could be their approach to the situation.
Much of the focus with waste is on what to do with it once you’ve used it. Can it be recycled or is there some way to mitigate its impact? It’s great that businesses are working out how to reduce their waste; however, a more effective method for becoming a zero-waste company would be to prevent it completely.
This is why our Anatomy of a Waste Bin workshops are so effective. Not only do they highlight waste produce that could otherwise be recycled and reused, but they also make it clear to companies just how much waste is created – and which products they need to change to make the switch from waste management to waste prevention.
4. Let the machines manage your resources
Avoiding a climate catastrophe will require some big shifts within business, but the march towards sustainable processes will be driven by lots of small changes at an operational level. For example, there are plenty of ways to reduce your consumption of resources like energy or chemicals.
One such way is to introduce machines to your cleaning team – especially when it comes to covering large surfaces. Over time, you’ll be able to notice (partly due to the data collected by these robots) that they reduce the amount of energy used to clean an area and the amount of chemicals needed to get the job done.
So, not only do cleaning machines provide a high-quality cleaning outcome, they also help you reach your sustainability targets.
Building a brighter, more sustainable future for professional cleaning
Pushing to make your business more sustainable can seem tough. Sometimes it feels like you’re being asked to completely upend everything that made you successful in the first place, but it doesn’t have to be like that. You just need to explore your options for delivering effective yet sustainable cleaning and hygiene services. And there are plenty out there…
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