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Contributed by Jean-Henri Beukes, CEO of Ecocleen

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword, driving a number of economies across the world to set ambitious sustainability targets. To limit global warming, emissions must be reduced by 50 percent before 2030 and to Net Zero by 2050. As a result, corporations have no choice but to evaluate their carbon impact and sustainability strategies to understand where they are overexposed to climate risk and underexposed to the opportunity of going green. 

Looking specifically at the cleaning sector, the industry is currently undergoing a significant shift in line with customer’s demand for greener products, greater social responsibility policies and commitment to sustainability from its service providers. Sustainability centers around meeting our needs, in a way that doesn’t undermine the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and whilst green measures are already starting to take shape, there are growing opportunities for improvement by commercial cleaning companies. 

Green Solutions And Technology

Sustainable cleaning is all about using biological products and methods that are safer for both environmental and human health. Eco-friendly cleaning products can reduce air and water pollution, as well as helping fight ozone depletion and climate change in the future. In addition, companies in the cleaning sector can use emerging technology like Pulse Mops, washable microfiber mop heads and cloths as they use less water and laundering materials, which minimizes waste for the whole business. From an economic perspective, this provides cleaning experts with a number of cost benefits, in addition to reducing the organization's impact on the environment. 

Improving Waste Management

Commercial cleaning companies can also take sustainability to the next level by adopting a waste hierarchy that encompasses three key levels: reduce, reuse and recycle. Reducing the consumption of cleaning products and chemicals is essential to the waste hierarchy, closely followed by reusing or repurposing items to limit waste and ensure less energy is spent. Recycling is also popular among businesses in the cleaning sector, especially as there are very few materials that can not be recycled. 

Put People First

Furthermore, it is critical for organizations in the cleaning industry to ensure that they are operating in ways that mutually benefit society and protect people. Social sustainability involves evaluating how commercial cleaning companies treat employees and ensure their wellbeing. Additionally, factors such as local employment, diversity and inclusion are vital considerations, as well as making sure to pay workers a good wage in line with the Living Wage Foundation. Businesses can also take action in the community, responsibly partnering with relevant charities and projects to ensure that local communities benefit from the company’s presence in the area.

Driving For Sustainable Results

As employees and customers increasingly become more eco-conscious, they want to know that organizations are not willfully ignoring environmental considerations when they make fleet decisions. In line with this, commercial cleaning companies can consider implementing sustainable fleets, with a combination of cleaner vehicles and fuels, fuel-efficient operations and electric vehicles. When businesses explore the benefits of replacing diesel-powered vehicles and reducing the amount of road traffic generated, they can reduce their environmental impact and make impressive operational cost savings. 

Journey To Net Zero

Sustainability has transformed from a ‘nice to have’ to essential practice for businesses that are operating in the cleaning industry. Whilst many commercial cleaning companies have started deploying sustainability best practices, there are still improvements that can be made in the path to Net Zero. Now is the time to adapt to new sustainable demands and become a greener industry of the future, bringing benefits to their business, customers, employees and stakeholders.