By Stephen Ashkin

Stephen Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a nationally renowned consulting firm helping both contractors and building owners “green” the cleaning process.
Green has always been the color of money, but as a building service contractor, your bottom line can grow greener now when you offer your customers and prospects products that are good for them — and good for the globe.

This year, Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22, arrives jarringly close on the heels of a dire United Nations report that shows that greenhouse gases are at historic highs and places the blame for climate change almost entirely in human hands.

February’s report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the most comprehensive source of climate data and analysis. It substantiates that global warming is undeniable, with a 90 percent level of certainty that it is due to human activity. It underscores that if we don’t act now, the results for people and the planet could be costly — or calamitous.

The report received wide media attention, so anyone who even vaguely follows the news has probably heard about it. That means facilities managers, purchasing heads and contracts administrators — as well as building occupants who wield significant sway where workplace health is concerned — have heard about it. Perhaps there are still people out there who disbelieve that things on earth are in bad shape, or don’t understand the situation’s severity. But the chorus of concern about the environment has grown so loud that we are at the tipping point: green is no longer tree-hugger territory. Green is going mainstream.

That makes this April an ideal time for BSCs to stand out from competitors in three ways when it comes to green cleaning. First, remind your customers that their early adoption of green cleaning methods makes them leaders in reducing their impact on the environment. Tout their trailblazing and applaud their commitment. Second, encourage prospects to go green while there is an opportunity to garner recognition from the outside and create added-value. They can still be early adopters, but not for long.

Third, in this climate of increased attention on, well, the climate, be prepared for greater attention on Earth Day this year, and as a result, for your customers and prospects to ask what you do to be green. Respond to their questions by preparing a flyer that includes information about the UN report and list ways your company is working to improve buildings’ safety, occupants’ health and the environment’s future. Or, write a letter for facilities managers to share with occupants of the buildings you clean. Help your customers tell their occupants how the building is cleaned and maintained to reduce negative impact on the environment. Use Earth Day as a hook to tell building occupants, “We care. We are making a difference.”

Since Senator Gaylord Nelson established Earth Day in 1970, it has provided us the opportunity to celebrate the earth and recommit ourselves to protecting it. This Earth Day, encourage your customers and prospects to put their money where the earth is.