TOP OF THE AGENDA For those that operate in an industry that constantly uses natural resources and chemicals,

the environment must be a top consideration. Jan-Hein Hemke, MD of Facilicom UK, explains why sustainability should be ingrained into business operations at every level.

Between the headlines about Brexit and our nation’s political unrest, one topic that never subsides is climate change. In fact, according to the latest YouGov data, public concern around the future of our planet has never been higher, with people citing the environment as the third most pressing issue facing the nation.

Although these figures are alarming, they’re not surprising, and they will continue to rise if we don’t act now. Protecting our planet demands constant attention and we all have a responsibility towards preserving our planet, both personally and professionally.

Having worked in the cleaning and facilities sector for over 25-years, I’m very aware of the often-unseen impact that our practices have on the environment. From using chemicals and natural resources, to the carbon emissions we produce through day-to-day operations, it’s an issue that can’t be ignored by service providers. Clients too are increasingly asking for sustainable solutions, in an attempt to do their bit for the environment.

At Facilicom, we have ingrained sustainability at the very heart of our operations and we firmly believe that a successful policy will balance three intrinsically linked dimensions: people, planet and profit.

People People are our prime asset so social sustainability is incredibly important to the overall success of a business. It is key to ensure workers are treated fairly and with respect. Improving the daily lives of colleagues is vital, as it results in a better trained workforce which is more loyal, more motivated, and delivers a higher quality service to customers.

One of the most important things a cleaning company can do to make things better for their employees is to pay a fair wage. As a Living Wage Foundation Recognised Service Provider, we passionately believe that those


that are willing to work hard for their wages should be rewarded sufficiently, to sustain an enjoyable life.

Planet We work closely with our sustainable solutions partner, Ethical Nation Ltd, to minimise our running costs and grow our positive environmental profile. One way we do this is through our revolutionary carbon neutral cleaning system, C2Zero. This system can calculate the precise carbon impact of every aspect of our service. By understanding and measuring this, we are able to fully offset the environmental impact and return the whole cleaning process on site to a carbon neutral position. We want our operations to be completely carbon free, so we offer this service as part of our standard package for clients. This ensures that doing business with Facilicom is beneficial commercially, socially and environmentally.

We are also committed to reducing the amount of harmful materials, the volume of chemicals used, and the quantity of waste. We work with suppliers to develop chemical-free cleaning products, to reuse machinery and equipment to give it a longer life, and to reduce the amount of material sent to landfill or ending up in our oceans and waterways.

Profit The ultimate aim for any business is to deliver a profit and this is no exception for a sustainably-focused company. It must be able to invest in order to guarantee the continuity of the company, the provision of goods and services to clients, and employment. Making a profit not only means achieving healthy financial results year after year, but also enables a company to contribute to a nation’s prosperity and to play a positive role in society.

Slowly but surely, we hope that our efforts will go some way towards making a difference to the future of our planet. An issue that businesses can no longer afford to ignore.

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