CLEANING Iain Fraser-Jones, MD of Greenzest Sustainable Cleaning Services, explains how a

business model based around a wider definition of sustainability is driving customer benefits in new ways.

Most industry insiders point to the early 2000s as the time when sustainability first started to appear on an FM’s list of preferred supplier attributes. In contract cleaning, this sparked a flurry of applications for ISO14001 accreditation at a time when, if one’s honest about it, the ISO standard was not really all that demanding.

Back then, the two main requirements for delivering sustainable cleaning were to use environmentally friendly cleaning products and support customers’ own recycling initiatives. Then along came CSR and to the environment was added ethical purchasing and support for local charities – all designed to wrap up the cleaning company as a desirable business partner and often just reflecting what the customer was doing, which is never a bad strategy.


We operate with no physical office, using a combination of cloud-

based technology, laptops, apps and 3rd party

systems to manage key services such as Right to

Work checking and Quality Auditing. We also run hybrid vehicles.

Realistically, though, how many cleaning contracts were awarded off the back of such behaviour? What’s the point of employing a ‘sustainable’ cleaning contractor unless they add real value in a tangible sense to the management of your building?

was sustainable in more ways than just environmental. I was more interested in the holistic version of sustainability, one that balances environmental, social and financial viability. Yet, when looked at from the outside, commercial cleaning is arguably the most challenging industry in which to try and achieve our ambition - if for no other reasons than it is so competitive and that staff in the industry are the most likely to be paid the minimum, aka National Living Wage.

A new approach to

sustainability When I set up Greenzest in 2011, my goal was to build a company that

People We carry out all staff

training and much day-to- day staff communication via UhUb, our staff engagement and

training app. We publish a quarterly newsletter

Green Scene to all staff, also through the medium of UhUb.

Why it works for customers Sustainability translates to customer benefit in many important ways, including the fair employment of cleaning staff. Without there being any scientific study to prove it, there’s scarcely a single contractor or customer, especially in London, who doesn’t agree that the Living Wage Foundation pay rate has significantly reduced staff turnover, with the resulting dividend in consistency and standards, as well as reduced training, admin and vetting costs. This, of course, requires a realistic discussion at tender stage around rates of pay.

In return, a customer can expect high-productivity cleaning from a motivated team, as well as consistent and reliable support from their contractor on key issues such as vetting and entry controls, training and use

34 | TOMORROW’S FM Partnerships

We focus totally on supporting our FM

customers by individually addressing the

operational demands of their building and targeting

improvement right the way through our contract.

Four pillars of sustainability To give Greenzest a framework for implementing sustainable initiatives that met these objectives, we came up with the idea of our ‘Four Pillars of Sustainability’.


We innovate new cleaning systems, whether that’s providing sanitisation control for hot-desk office environments, implementing energy- saving flow cleaning, or

simply using efficient back office systems to run our own processes.


of smartphones to communicate with the FM Team. If working on this basis means we can form a long-term mutually beneficial partnership with our customers, then the sustainability model is well and truly up and running.

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