Keen to be green
07 March 2013
Green cleaning has become one of the fastest growing trends in the industry today, and is becoming ever more central to business philosophies.Mike Sullivan,managing director of GOJO Industries-Europe, examines why this may be so
Businesses are grappling with an ever-growing list of key issues within the global sustainability agenda, while thinking of creative ways to increase profit during a difficult economic climate.
General awareness of this agenda is consistently rising, but confusion still shrouds the issue.While environmental impact is the most commonly thought of strand of sustainability, social and economic factors are often overlooked.
Key players in the industry are being motivated to become more eco-aware because our stakeholders expect us to understand and address issues that are relevant to them. An increasing number of buyers are questioning the sustainable agenda of their suppliers, recognising that their own environmental image is affected by the green credentials of their suppliers.Therefore contract choices are significantly impacted by how green or environmentally damaging a company's portfolio is.
The fact that suppliers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact their policies can have on their corporate image means they are starting to look inward to implement creative strategies to fulfil environmental needs.This is achieved in a number of ways, such as energy efficiency, limiting product waste and toxicity, and innovative product design.Through setting and recognising sustainable processes from the outset, suppliers sit at the top of the sustainability chain, passing down green products, principles and methods of working.
The Corporate Social Responsibility drive Sustainability is now increasingly being seen in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), where companies should be accountable for the impact on society and the environment. On the social side, this includes wider issues such as the working conditions of staff, who could be seen as a company's most important renewable resource and strongest asset.
Since 2007, GOJO Industries-Europe has diverted more than 50 per cent of its solid waste away from landfills.This includes more than 176 tonnes of scrap plastic it has donated for conversion into more than 320 playgrounds. It's an example of doing the right thing for the environment while simultaneously improving the lives of those around us in an even more direct way.
It's important to recognise that making small sustainable changes at an individual level can hugely impact the planet. In 2010, warehouse manager Shane Noble was elected Energy Champion at the GOJO's European head office in Milton Keynes.
Since being in his role, he has been looking at ways to implement these changes.The warehouse area has been replaced with high efficiency florescent tubes with motion detectors to save electricity and the prospect of rolling this out on a wider level is being examined. Every scrap of waste cardboard and plastic is recycled, and in the last year 1820kg of paper, equivalent to 30 trees, has been recycled.
In recognising how much of an impact high ethical standards can have on the planet and company profit, the race is on for firms to get one step ahead of their sustainable competitors. Consequently, the green message is being passed on from suppliers to a product's end user at a faster rate than ever before, meaning the values become inherent within the communities in which we work, for stakeholders, and for the next generation of business leaders.With a multitude of environmental, social and economic benefits, it is plain to see why an increasing number of companies are exceptionally keen to keep their businesses green.