Sustainable bids address two primary concerns, according to Hewett. They look at how the organization, in this case the BSC, embraces sustainability, and then they cover how they will incorporate sustainable practices into their cleaning operation.

Remember, sustainability is essentially a three-legged stool, with one leg each for environmental, social and financial responsibility. How BSCs embrace each facet of sustainability will help them incorporate the right information into their bids, says Steve Ashkin, president of Bloomington, Ind.-based The Ashkin Group and chairman of the Sustainability Dashboard.

Internally, a BSC may share a set of values with sustainability.

“This can be the way you run your office, the way you personally do business, as well as the ideas and culture you have,” Hewett says. “You may not be asked for this, but it’s important to put it in to ensure that the potential client understands your corporate culture.”

This information may show that the contractor is an equal opportunity employer, pays competitive wages, offers sufficient sustainability training to workers, and provides public transportation allowances for employees. The bid might also include that the contractor operates a fleet of energy-efficient or electric vehicles, recycles in the office, uses green chemicals in his own facility, and works solely with vendors who also practice sustainability.

“Most of these things are likely already in their literature and promotional materials, but they need to communicate them in their bids,” says Hewett.

Sustainable Practices In Business Must Be Proven

But it’s not enough for BSCs to just say they embrace sustainable practices in business; they need to support these statements with facts, says Ashkin. If their bid says they are an equal opportunity employer, what does that mean? Are 20 percent or 90 percent of the workers minorities? If they claim they are sustainable at their own facilities, what does that involve?

“Here they might say, ‘Our goal is to reduce X, Y, Z use by 20 percent by 2020 or some other claim to that effect,’” Ashkin says. “A contractor needs to quantify the statements made to show it’s not just lip service. This shows advanced knowledge and expertise on the subject.”

BSCs need to show their supply chain and sustainability practices in business on the purchasing side, says Jason Lee, director of sustainability and process optimization at Harvard Maintenance, New York.

“Show your vendor alliances and the products you choose,” he adds. “Talk about the packaging and whether it’s reusable or recyclable. What happens after you’re done using the products?”

Sharing internal environmental reporting initiatives also helps. Does the contractor have a corporate disclosure process that reports their greenhouse gas emissions; and does this reporting show that they have reduced their own environmental impact?

previous page of this article:
Creating Sustainable Cleaning Bids
next page of this article:
Quantify Sustainability Solutions