Cleaning Contractors Can Help Meet ESG Goals

If you haven't already, talk to your cleaning contractor about the sustainability efforts they can provide.

By Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief  

From LED lighting to LEED certification, facility executives have looked for ways to implement sustainability — and now environmental, social and governance (ESG) — initiatives for decades. A couple months ago, we wrote about how your energy service company (ESCO) can be a partner for meeting sustainability goals. Here’s another often overlooked resource: your building service contractor.  

Our sister publication Contracting Profits, along with the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI), conducted a survey of facility executives and a separate survey of building service contractors to see how well this client/service provider relationship matched up when it came to ESG goals.  

According to the survey, facility executives ranked cleaning third in importance after obvious targets like energy and water. After all, if facility managers can reduce their energy and water usage, it'll pay huge dividends. However, I am surprised cleaning placed ahead of building materials, grounds, pesticides and paints/coatings.  

This is good news because cleaning can be an easy and relatively inexpensive way to meet ESG goals (especially when compared to the costs of implementing energy or water saving efforts).  

If you haven't already, talk to your cleaning contractor about the sustainability efforts they can provide. More than likely, they already are doing these things. According to the survey, 71 percent of building service contractors implement sustainable practices regardless of whether the client asks for it. However, you may not know that because they simply aren't telling you. Just over half of contractors fail to publicize that their cleaning programs contribute to ESG initiatives.  

Ask your contractor if the chemicals, soaps, towels and other products used in your facility are Green Seal certified. Find out if they work with distributors and manufacturers who also value ESG initiatives. And, most importantly, determine whether the janitors cleaning your building are paid a living wage. If not, it sounds like you’re probably willing to pay more to make it happen — 73 percent of survey respondents said they would pay more for a cleaning program if it meant the janitors would be better compensated.  

Saying something and backing it up are two different things, however, and two-thirds of contractors don't believe their clients will put their money where their mouth is. If ESG goals matter to your facility, sit down with your building service contractor and review your contract. Most contractors would welcome an annual meeting, but a third would be willing to do it quarterly. Make changes that can impact ESG and be willing to pay extra for it when warranted.   

Dan Weltin is the editor-in-chief for the facility market. He has 20 years of experience covering the facility management and commercial cleaning industries.  

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  posted on 1/9/2023   Article Use Policy

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