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Creating a sustainable future in the cleaning industry

20 January 2021

THE PUBLIC is asking for more from the country’s corporate agenda, demanding it places the sustainability of our environment, people and relationships front and centre of the new ways of working we’ll be presented with once normality resumes.

Rather than being a mere tick box exercise, shareholders of all capacities expect sustainability to be baked into a business’ values, and that is especially true in the cleaning sector. Indeed, the supporting services cleaning providers offer their clients should be based on a sustainable supply chain, its own sustainable values and an ability to help the end customer be more sustainable, too. Here’s how this is being done at Unify by Bruntwood.  

Rethink consumables
Being more sustainable in its consumables is just one process Unify develops in partnership with its customers. For example, harmful chemicals should no longer be used in the pursuit of cleaner workplaces. The use of bleach is not just harmful to the environment but demonstrates that some within the industry is still moving at snail’s pace when it comes to creating sustainable processes. 

Instead, cleaning providers could be introducing ozone water systems, where water is purified to disinfectant standards by an electric current which is proven to be more effective in eradicating bacteria than most chemical-based cleaning agents. It’s much more beneficial – to the environment, the customer’s pocket and to a cleaning provider’s own efficiency standards. 

Adopting new technologies
The idea that cleaning is simply sloshing about a wet kentucky mop should be outdated but, sadly, it’s still the way in which many providers carry out their services. 
Instead, Unify says we must increase our adoption of the technologies which make cleaning more efficient, use less expendable resource and empower us to achieve better results. 

For example, working with our supply partners Killis, Unify has invested in several i-Mop systems which replace both the traditional mop and bucket and industrial-sized scrubber driers. A more compact cleaning solution, the i-Mop issues sufficient doses to clean a particular surface area meaning less excess water is wasted in the cleaning process. 

Not only has the company's customers’ standards of cleaning improved, but morale amongst the team delivering their service has been boosted too, due to working with equipment which makes the job a quicker and more comfortable process. 

Build a responsible supply chain

To be a sustainable business, you must ensure your suppliers are ethical and are driving forward sustainability standards themselves. Unify works with its suppliers to reuse containers of cleaning products, ensuring they don’t end up in landfill. The business is building relationships with local clothing manufacturers, who offer ethical and organic uniform options, which don’t  use pesticides during production of their materials. New suppliers are asked to demonstrate how they’re reducing their carbon footprint and supporting their local community. Part of Unify's own fleet of vehicles is electrified and there are ambitions to get this to 100%.

Small, collective steps make a big difference. Unify's values are created around our customers and our people, and by working in closer proximity to them, the company can provide a higher quality of delivery, as well as be more efficient and sustainable in its approach.

These are the steps that providers at every corner of the industry must start taking. There are new benchmarks to be created – because those already in place won’t equate to a better future. We are not yet where we need to be, so we must continue to adapt to the challenges around us with a constant eye on sustainability to create workplaces and opportunities that make people want to create a better cleaning industry, together.