Green lungs of planet Earth. 3d rendering of a clean lake in a shape of lungs in the middle of virgin forest. Concept of nature and rainforest protection, nature breathing and natural co2 reduction.  P

Contributed By The Ashkin Group

Climate change, sustainability, green cleaning, and the environment have taken a back seat to the pandemic, and understandably so. However, hold on to your hats.

"They're coming back, stronger than ever," says Stephen Ashkin, a green cleaning expert and the founder and president of the Ashkin Group. “Not only that, but it also appears this will be happening sooner than we think."

Here is why:

- The new administration has already issued executive orders to protect the environment, tackle climate change, and re-join the Paris Climate Accord.

- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun rolling orders that could potentially have harmed our air and water.

- The newly enacted COVID relief bill includes funds to foster clean energy technologies and create green jobs.

- One-third of the $860 billion the European Union (EU) plans to spend to help Europe recover from the pandemic is earmarked for green, environmental and sustainable initiatives.

- The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), International Energy Association, World Economic Forum, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund are all encouraging member-countries to set aside recovery funds specifically on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.

- The United Nations is devising a blueprint for moving beyond COVID that highlights building a healthier planet.

"The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call," says UN Secretary-General António Guterres. "We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future."

Further, UN Climate Chief Patricia Espinosa says, "With this restart [of the economy], a window of hope and opportunity opens… for nations to shape the 21st-century in ways that are clean, Green, healthy, safe, and more resilient."

So, what does all this mean now and for the future of the professional cleaning industry? According to Ashkin, his two key takeaways are the following:

Infection control and prevention measures begun during the pandemic are now a permanent part of the professional cleaning industry.

"It's who we are," he says. "We keep people healthy."

However, we will accomplish this using safer, healthier, greener, and more sustainable products and procedures.

"This, too, is who we are," he concludes.