Sustainability best practices for businesses

CEOs focusing on sustainability in their business model have cited seeing significant improvements to their infrastructure and bottom line.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
By Mark Kirchgasser

Sustainability is an increasingly important focus for many cleaning service and janitorial businesses, as well as facilities. Climate change is affecting our lives and the planet, which means sustainable business practices are vital for business owners, leaders, and administrators.

Awareness is a good starting point for businesses looking to become more sustainable. The more aware organizations become of the current impacts their business practices have on the environment, the more likely they are to make strides in reducing their company’s carbon footprint and take on roles as industry leaders.

Waste and sustainability

Waste continues to be a growing issue, and 20 businesses have been found to generate roughly 55 per cent of global plastic waste. Before it’s too late, these leaders must make sustainable changes to limit their organizations’ impact on our environment.

Studies show that consumers are willing to forgo brands that don’t support their values, and consumers supporting sustainable companies have grown in popularity. At least 50 per cent of consumers cite the pandemic for causing them to rethink what’s important to them, which changes their buying habits. By doing this, they’re setting the bar for industries to re-strategize and set new standards for meeting and exceeding expectations.

At least 76 per cent of consumers say they are attracted to businesses or brands that source services and materials in ethical ways. Additionally, 65 per cent of consumers say they would rather do business with brands that are environmentally friendly and provide credible “green” credentials for their products and services, minimizing harm to the environment and investing in sustainability.

Why businesses should care

Many CEOs have reported that their businesses have already experienced damaging effects due to climate change, and as a result, are ready to take action. These effects are considered a wake-up call with the goal of speeding up their transition to more sustainable business models. While some CEOs have already taken action, others may follow. It’s a matter of demonstrating behaviours crucial to achieving a competitive stance by way of sustainability.

With the increasing frequency of natural disasters globally, CEOs are forced to reckon with an urgent need to adapt and become more resilient, especially across supply chains. The pandemic has done little to help matters, particularly with pressure from investors and capital markets pushing for quick climate action.

According to President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan, ambitious goals are underway to deliver an emissions reduction pathway pursuant to President Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse emissions by 50 to 52 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Through this plan, the Federal Government aims to achieve 100 per cent carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2030, including 50 per cent on a 24/7 basis, 100 per cent zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, and net-zero emissions buildings by 2045, including a 50 per cent reduction by 2032, among others.

Incorporating sustainable practices

When it comes to incorporating sustainable practices, there are several ways in which organizations can do their part. Some examples include:

Looking for third-party certifications:

Facility managers are working to make washrooms more environmentally friendly, which is why it’s important to consider the impact of paper products on sustainability. While many facility managers cite using recycled paper products as a way to comply with green-purchasing plans and contribute to their organization’s sustainability goals, third party organizations like Green Seal have developed standards for products, including those used in a facility washroom.

CDP ratings are also important. CDP is a nonprofit organization supporting investors, companies, cities, countries and regions globally to manage their environmental impacts. This organization’s Supplier Engagement Rating measures the ability of suppliers to engage in the fight against climate change. Companies should choose to work with businesses with a CDP “A” rating, demonstrating its commitment to fighting climate change.

Using tracking technology:

There are now technologies available that make it easy to track cleaning measures and limit doubling up on procedures.

Gone are the days of using a piece of paper to track when cleaning professionals service a washroom or other area of a facility. Consider partnering with companies that provide technology to quickly analyze how often areas are being serviced and help ensure tasks are getting done on time. Facility managers can also optimize time by logging and analyzing cleaning and disinfecting activity for each respective zone – this reduces overservicing and lowers the cost of labour and products used.

Mitigating corporate water risk:

There are a number of ways in which facilities can reduce the amount of water waste. These include reducing pollution and integrating water management into their business strategies. Several corporations are taking steps to efficiently limit their water consumption. It’s important that companies consider the impact water usage has on their bottom lines, including areas of business that are vulnerable to water shortages, and ways in which to reduce consumption.

The business of going green

Sustainability is important not only for the environment, but also for your business. As industry leaders, it’s imperative to lead by example, which is why making greener decisions puts your business at the forefront of the competition.

CEOs taking strides toward a more sustainable business model have cited seeing significant improvements to their infrastructure and bottom line.

Incorporating sustainable practices takes effort, which can be demonstrated by partnering with third-party certifications and introducing tracking technology to the business to reduce paper usage.

Mark Kirchgasser is VP of Sales, Away from Home, at Sofidel America and a 30-year veteran of the tissue industry.

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