Staying Focused And Getting Recognized For Sustainability
When referring to his company’s sustainability efforts, the CEO of a major jan/san organization was recently quoted as saying, “We don’t get credit for the things we do.”
In reality, this company has taken several steps to help their communities; provide generous benefits for their staff; and has adopted numerous initiatives to protect the environment and reduce their dependence on natural resources. Yet, it appears that no one seems to know about it.
While such initiatives should not be viewed as marketing opportunities, according to Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and the professional cleaning industry’s leading advocate for sustainability, there are solid reasons for getting the word out about these efforts.
For instance, he says:
• Employees, especially younger workers, feel better about an employer that is green- and sustainability-focused.
• Sustainability invariably translates into greater efficiency and cost savings, which end-customers should know can benefit them.
• Bankers and investors now determine the value and even the fate of a company based on its sustainability efforts.
So how can this CEO and other jan/san leaders get the word out about their sustainability efforts?
“It starts in the office. The most important thing these companies must do is walk their talk,” says Ashkin. “Employees need to see these efforts in action.”
Other suggestions Ashkin has for getting the word out are the following:
Boldly advertise green and sustainability messages. “If products are made from 100 percent recycled materials, don’t tuck this away in the small print of an advertisement. Make sure the end-customer sees this message.”
Take action. If a product or an ingredient in a product , for instance, is proven harmful to people or the environment, “the company should make sure their end-customers know they are no longer marketing this product or using this ingredient and why. Send out press releases.”
Get in the news...a lot. As useful as advertising and press releases are, “they may not be enough. Organizations must continually find their way into trade publications, spreading the word about their good deeds and sustainability efforts.”
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