Rebelling to save the planet

Joanne Gilliard, CEO of Jangro, explores how the recent mass climate change civil disobedience in London might translate into change, and what the cleaning industry can do to lessen its environmental impact.

10 days of marches, arrests and disruption occurred in London recently as the Extinction Rebellion group protested across the city to highlight the issue of climate change. Activists caused widespread chaos across the city, lying down on busy roads, blocking major bridges and even gluing themselves to trains and buildings. At the same time, thousands of students went on strike to demand vital action on climate change.

Such action generated extensive publicity, raising awareness of the issue in people’s consciousness. Their message was clear: we are in the midst of a climate emergency and need to build a more sustainable world. But once the traffic cleared, and the media noise had died down, did the urgency of the message get lost?

Well, not completely. As a result of their disruptive activity, Extinction Rebellion met with Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary. He pledged, on behalf of the government, to reduce carbon emissions to ‘net zero’, however no actual timeline to achieve this was set. On the other hand, their actions caused chaos to hard-working Londoners, who, because of their disruption, may have been less sympathetic to hearing their message.

Another approach

As well as putting pressure on the government, environmental campaigners should seek to work with companies and corporations to effect change – and this is where the cleaning industry can lead the way. It is no secret that the day-to-day operations and many of the products used in our sector inevitably impact on the environment. We therefore have a huge responsibility to make sustainable choices, minimise our carbon footprint and reduce the potentially harmful effects of our business, wherever and whenever possible.

This is something that we at Jangro are committed to, so we are working hard to offer more sustainable, yet effective, options. In fact, we recently launched a new eco-range catalogue, featuring products designed or formulated to have a minimal impact on the planet, which in turn helps customers to make more environmentally friendly choices.

In an effort to reduce our reliance on plastics and to stop them from ending up in landfill or in our oceans and waterways, we believe recycling and ‘smart packaging’ is key. This is not only one of the simplest and most effective ways to lessen our impact, but it also makes sense from a business perspective. For example, products with excessive packaging not only waste our planet’s valuable resources, but also time and money, when you include the increased logistics costs of handling bulkier and heavier products.


Businesses can also look to reduce their CO2 emissions. At Jangro, we are achieving this through a combination of factors, including reduced fuel consumption and lower exhaust emissions in our delivery fleet, as well as saving paper, water and energy in our offices.

Good for the planet, good for business

There is a growing awareness from end-users about the environmental impact of any product or service they choose, or benefit from, including cleaning detergents and supplies. Purchasers now expect reputable cleaning and janitorial companies to make sustainable choices wherever possible. Those who take the lead in climate action will benefit not only financially, but by ‘walking the talk’ and demonstrating tangible environmental improvements, their image and reputation will be enhanced.

The Extinction Rebellion protests succeeded in putting climate change back on the news agenda, but how successful they were in actually achieving change is arguable. Here at Jangro, we won’t be chaining ourselves to your lorries in protest. Instead, you’ll find us constantly innovating and developing products and systems, which minimise our own environmental impact, as well as that of our customers.

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