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Special Report

Sustainability: reduce costs and your carbon footprint

Sustainability within the cleaning industry continues to grow in impor- tance, with much of the focus surrounding the use of ‘environmentally friendly' products. Stuart Taylor, Office Depot’s business manager special- ising in janitorial and cleaning supplies, offers insight in to what facilities managers need to consider when choosing to go green, for example using more concentrated products that last longer, or products which use less packaging.

In challenging economic times, cost re- mains a key factor whenmaking any pro- curement decision.Many organisations may shy away fromtaking a ‘greener’ ap- proach to procurement because of the pos- sible cost implications, but organisations aremissing out on huge benefits, such as shrinking their carbon footprint, saving costs through consolidated ordering and usingmore efficient ‘green’ products as a result. Organisations practising sustainable pro-

curementmeet their product and service needs with a view tomaximising benefits for not only the organisation but also the wider world. In doing so theymust consider environmental impacts alongside conven- tional procurement criteria of cost and quality. Therefore, organisations have the power to improve their own reputation, both internally and externally, and increase their competitive edge as sustainability contin- ues to rise on the agenda of both con- sumers and businesses alike. However, formany businesses, becoming

more sustainable is now an essential part of their corporate social responsibility plan thanks to government legislation. Although thismainly applies to larger organisations, small andmediumbusinesses are sure to be required tomeet targets soon enough. Approaching sustainability head-on can reap genuine rewards, including improved quality and reduced costs, whereas waiting until it becomes crucialmay leave organi- sations struggling tomake changes and keep up with sustainable targets. Shrinking one’s carbon footprint is a key

target when organisations look at becom- ingmore sustainable.Within the cleaning industry there are a number of ways to de- crease the energy used, but first it is es- sential to evaluate where the business is at present, in order tomeasure progress. At Office Depot, we informour customers of what their carbon footprint is when order- ing their usual products, we then suggest where products can be changed for an en- vironmentally-friendly alternative or where amore sustainable delivery procedure can be introduced.We thenmonitor and report on progress as these green changes lower the carbon footprint. There are a number of simple ways to in-

crease sustainability within an organisa- tion, firstly order consolidation. This can be achieved by simply recognising that even small-scale orders, whichmay have very minimal costs, can become part of a larger order. Also, evaluating how often orders are placed and howmany different suppliers

are used is important.When ordering cleaning products, it is often possible to use one supplier for all your cleaning needs, therefore allowing one supplier to organise, package and deliver your order, which in turn reduces packaging and the number of deliveries, saving costs and re- ducing emissions. Once one, or a select number of suppliers has been decided, combining orders into fewer deliveries can also lower the environmental impact. Secondly, it essential to review where tra-

ditional cleaning products can be replaced by ecological products.Where 20 years ago, those in the cleaning industrymay have avoided eco-friendly cleaning products as theymay have had to compromise on per- formance, this is no longer the case. As de- mand has grown for products that are sustainablymade and sourced, the quality and ease of use of these products has in- creased at a rapid rate. Traditionally, businesses chose cleaning

products that were sold readymade. How- ever, by using concentrated products, and a controlled dosing system, costs can be re- duced dramatically. For example, 1.4 litres of a super-concentrated product can pro- vide 350 trigger-spray bottles of solution - drastically reducing packaging, vehicle emissions and storage space. However, this is only effective if the products are di- luted correctly so it is essential for staff to be trained to ensure products are used ef- fectively. Another trend that has emerged over the

years is that often, and simply out of habit, the same products continue to be re- ordered and used for lengthy periods of time. To overcome this, it can just be a case of informing those in procurement that this is no longer the only option, and educating themin the range of concentrated products available, as well as the cost-savings and environmental benefits gained for chang- ing. Regularly reviewing the products being used is also important, tomake sure new products are regularly considered and or- ganisations do notmiss out on quality and cost-saving improvements fromproduct in- novations. Multi-purpose cleaners can also offer a

straightforward way tominimise costs and increase sustainability, by simply changing to use one product that can do a number of different jobs, rather than using a number different cleaners. For example, rather than using four different cleaning products to clean a bathroom, switch to amulti-pur- pose cleaner that can be used for all four different purposes.

Stuart Taylor, Office Depot’s business manager specialising in janitorial and cleaning supplies.

Finally, one of the biggest challenges an

organisation will face when changing to a more sustainable approach can be ensur- ing end-user engagement. Simply chang- ing cleaning products without informing and educating those who use themcan lead to products not being used correctly or cost-effectively. Staff buy-in is essential for the products to be used effectively and they must be communicated with regularly when changes aremade. Board-level support is also imperative, to

add weight to any changes that aremade. As emphasis shifts to amore sustainable focus, often one boardmember is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the or- ganisation as a whole incorporates a sus- tainable approach. A ‘bottomdown, top up’ approach can work well to ensure objec- tives are communicated and changes are accepted at all levels. Increasing sustainability can be as simple

as recognising where small changes can have a big impact on an organisation’s car- bon footprint. By using one supplier and encouraging fewer deliveries, and choosing multi-purpose or concentrated cleaning products, sustainability within an organisa- tion can be improved dramatically and tar- gets for reducing energy consumption can bemet with ease.

Healthy workplace, happy business Continued from Page 21.

You can’t always rely on employees washing their hands after

using the washroom, so this disinfection process should spread to both the kitchen and desks. A computer’s keyboard andmouse are notoriously the dirtiest areas in an office, so all should receive a good wipe down, alongside the desk and surrounding working area. Busy office workers aren’t the cleanest bunch, and they cer- tainly won’t always treat their office space like they would their home. This is why it is imperative to have a cleaning teamthat are not just professional, but scrupulous across the whole of the cleaning regime.

Clean offices that drive business growth

Evidence suggests that clean and hygienic offices can drive busi- nesses by helping tomotivate amore productive workforce. How- ever, it also has a further reaching role within its impact on business growth. Just as you wouldn’t want to eat in a dirty restaurant, or buy goods froman unclean shop, the same can be said about businesses. If a prospective client walks into an office with soiled carpets and a grubby appearance, what are they then going to think about the way your company is being run? You can be assured that even though thismay appear to be quite aminor issue in the grand scheme of a business, it has a great effect on the professional image you want your company to portray. We can all admit that when it comes to cleanliness we can get a

bit fickle. Fromjudging someone for a dirty bathroomwhen na- ture calls in their home, to reluctantly shaking the hand of some- one with dirt under their nails. But the inherent concern that lies behind these fears of unclean environments is backed up by enough evidence, which proves that the cleaning regime within working environments should formthe backbone of a company’s business strategy. If companies want to survive in such a difficult climate, theymay benefit fromsomething as simple as a revised cleaning regime, which can be a lot cheaper than a newmarket- ing campaign. l SEPTEMBER 2013 l C&M l 31

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