I recently received a letter from a building service contractor upset that in the push to create environmentally friendly facilities, the emphasis is on certifying products rather than the janitors. His argument is that even a green product used incorrectly can damage the environment and threaten the safety of building occupants.

I agree (although I also do believe it's important to certify products to third-party standards). However, this letter ended by calling out for the creation of a janitor certification. I wondered if he wasn't aware of some of the programs that already exist — and that maybe his distributor could point him in the right direction.

Last month's cover story, "Cash In On the New Cleaning," discussed the growing trend of end user certifications and the role distributors can take to help their customers get certified. This letter is yet another example of how important it is for distributors to be aware of their clients' needs and not just focused on moving product. This particular end user presents an opportunity for distributors to showcase their expertise about CIMS — GB, GS-42, (OS1) and other green certifications. And I'm sure he is not the only end user looking for guidance on this issue, or that this is the only new trend clients need help with. Take the time to talk with your customers to find out their current challenges.

If green cleaning is the frequent response, Sanitary Maintenance will be hosting the CleaningGreen Virtual Expo and Conference on May 11 to help distributors stay up-to-date. This free online event features Web conferences presented by green experts, including Steve Ashkin, Allen Rathey, David Holly and Ian Greig. In addition, there will be a virtual trade show floor featuring the latest green products. Best of all, attendees won't have to leave their desks to experience it all. Registration is open at www.cleanlink.com/cleaninggreenexpo.