Part three of this four-part article demonstrates how Moody focuses on environmental stewardship outside of his business.

Part of the industry trend toward green cleaning is about meeting customer demand. But that isn’t the only reason. After all, Moody still has customers who hold a negative perception of green cleaning.

Moody, however, views his role as a small business owner and chemical supplier as an opportunity to affect social change and demonstrate good stewardship.

“It’s really been about practicing the Golden Rule, that you treat people the way you want to be treated, and doing that across the board with the way we operate our business,” he says. “If we can do this better and it’s not hurting us, it’s really the right thing to do.”

And hurt Solutex, it certainly has not. When there has been a cost increase associated with reformulating a product to meet Safer Choice or SDSI standards, Solutex decided not to pass on those cost increases to its customers, says James Fisher, national account executive.

“When I’m meeting with new potential clients, and I bring up the [Safer Choice] award and I show them everything,” says Fisher, “that means more to some people than cost.”

Cleaning efficacy still matters, as well, and Deihr says that improving the safety of Solutex’s chemicals has not affected its chemicals in that way.

“Charlie has been in business for a really long time,” she says. “And he is a very well-respected, honest man. And I think that his customers know that if he’s going to go this direction, they’re going to trust him to know that the products are going to be as great as they were before.”

There are even Styrofoam cups in various places around the Solutex office in which Moody is running cleaning experiments, testing the cleaning capability of the Safer Choice products, because, at the end of the day, these chemicals still need to work. And it’s for that reason that a number of chemicals Solutex sells are not capable of meeting Safer Choice standards, at least not yet. Some chemicals simply need to be caustic enough to do their jobs, says Moody.

Today, Moody’s view is summarized like this: Customers will come to him and ask if a product is “green.” He responds that it is “greener.”

“I never like to say something is totally green, because the word green makes it seem like you are finished there,” says Moody. “And I always say to them, ‘What’s green today — there will be products 10 years from now that are greener.’”

He shares that viewpoint with Williams, who says, “The goal is really safer products. You’ll note that I’m not saying ‘safe,’ I’m saying ‘safer.’”

Moody now applies his new philosophy to all parts of his life. Employees at Solutex say Moody and Monica have always been cognizant of their impact on the environment. They care. But, as they have gone down this green cleaning road, he, his wife and his team at Solutex have begun to live their lives “greener.”

An example of this was a recent Earth Day cleanup of a local creek organized by Solutex. For years, Moody had thought about doing a creek cleanup. He is an avid mountain biker and used to ride a trail that goes along that same creek. But it wasn’t until he began to see the impact a small company like his could make that he decided to organize the cleanup event. Impressed by Moody’s enthusiasm for environmental stewardship, Williams and her husband even spent time off the clock volunteering at the event.

Similarly, Moody isn’t content with the 20 Safer Choice-labeled chemicals in Solutex’s catalog. He plans to go down his product line and work toward certifying more, while also improving the safety of those products already worthy of the Safer Choice label.

“I’m not even embarrassed,” says Moody, “to tell people now that we sell chemicals.”

previous page of this article:
Solutex Embraces EPA’s Safer Choice Program
next page of this article:
Earning The EPA Safer Choice Label