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Scrubbing up on washroom sustainability

26 November 2018

More and more businesses are choosing to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) a key focus in their washrooms. Andy Zneimer, communications, CLARITY-The Soap Co., explains more

There seems little doubt that businesses are having to respond to dynamic changes in consumer preferences and expectations. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aims to ensure that companies conduct their business in a way that is ethical. Whereas perhaps just a few years ago CSR was for many a tick box exercise, today it is a top priority.

What this means, is that the detail, such as how corporates and SME’s kit out their office washrooms, can be indicative of true CSR intent – if their houses are not in order, how can they be taken seriously?

Buying behaviour

We see increasingly that facilities management companies (FM’s) are listing cleaning and washroom products – washing up liquid, hand soaps and lotions and so on – that are somewhat eco conscious and occasionally do good too in the wider sense. Times are changing, and the encouraging sign is that distributors are not blindly placing year-in year-out orders for pink-pearlised soap that are neither particularly efficacious for the skin and possibly do more harm than good to the environment.

We are ever more aware and demanding that manufacturers of goods and services try to create societal or social benefits beyond being driven purely by profit. Corporate sustainability is a by-product of this as the trickle up effect of a younger, more conscious demographic concerned about the planet and their carbon footprint – as well as value creation in society – exert greater influence.

A recent YouGov piece of research found that 56% of consumers, "don’t mind paying more for products that are good for the environment," with "an increase of 22% more likely to describe themselves as ‘environmentalist’ in outlook". (YouGov Profiles, Target Audience = heavy OOH consumers, index vs average).

Certification

One of the latest initiatives that businesses are striving for is sustainability certification, offered by organisations like Planet First with The Planet Mark. Taking into account factors from energy sources to paper and water wastage, recycling efficiency to shipping and courier output, this certification measures carbon footprint and environmental performance with a target of 5% reduction year on year. A new generation of 'Green Teams' are springing up within offices tasked with taking on some of these enviro and sustainability hot potatoes – with the washroom as good a place to start as any.

Changing perceptions

Camilla Marcus-Dew, head of commercial at social enterprise at CLARITY-The Soap Co., said: “We create jobs for people with a range of disabilities by creating and selling our luxury bath and beauty soaps and everyday cleaning products. Our business model dictates that we develop fantastic relationships with all the key facilities management companies servicing the major distributors into the business sector. We are currently partnering with ISS, Sodexo, Interserve, Mitie and Apleona with our family of brands: CLARITY, The Soap Co., and new water-saving and hypoallergenic brand, BECỌ. We ensure that every supply chain has access to social value-creating products at every price point.” 

Marcus-Dew added: “We want to disrupt and challenge perceptions of disability, to bring truly eco-friendly products to the market, and at the same time show that social enterprise we can compete with the biggest players in this sector. As more and more organisations come to understand the importance of CSR, we are ready to both spread and capitalise on this increased awareness.”

 
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