Implementing green cleaning practices can positively impact a company's ESG score by reducing its environmental impact, promoting social responsibility, demonstrating good governance practices, and demonstrating its commitment to sustainable and ethical practices.
The Impact of Green Cleaning Services on ESG Scores
Green cleaning can positively impact a company's ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) rating by contributing to the environmental and social factors evaluated in ESG scoring.
- Environmental factors: Green cleaning practices use environmentally friendly products and methods that reduce harmful chemicals and waste. This can reduce a company's carbon footprint by reducing air and water pollution, conserving water and energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Social factors: Green cleaning can also have social benefits, such as creating a healthier and safer workplace for employees. It can also benefit the broader community by reducing the number of harmful chemicals and waste that are released into the environment and by promoting long-term environmental sustainability.
- Governance factors: A regular green cleaning program demonstrates a company's commitment to responsible governance, as it shows that the company is taking steps to minimize its environmental impact and ensure the safety and health of its employees and other facility occupants.
Environment and Health
Cleaning and disinfection products are essential for ensuring public safety.
However, their use can adversely affect the environment and human health.
The toxic components in commercial cleaners and disinfectants can expose janitorial staff and other facility occupants to concentrated compounds, leading to skin and eye irritation, respiratory issues, and, in rare instances, death.
Furthermore, some surfactants used in conventional cleaning products can biodegrade slowly or degrade into more toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative chemicals, which can threaten aquatic life.
Similarly, phosphorus or nitrogen ingredients can contribute to nutrient-loading in water bodies, adversely affecting water quality.
Another concern is that volatile organic compounds (VOC) in cleaning products can affect indoor air quality and contribute to smog formation in outdoor air.
It is, therefore, essential to use cleaning products that are low in VOC and have a minimal environmental impact.
By doing so, we can minimize the potential adverse effects of cleaning products on the environment and human health.
Green cleaning practices can improve workplace equity by promoting a healthier and safer environment for all workers.
Green cleaning products and practices prioritize using non-toxic and environmentally friendly materials, which can reduce the risk of health problems and illnesses that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.
By promoting a safer and healthier work environment, green cleaning can also reduce the number of sick days taken by workers and promote greater productivity, benefiting all employees regardless of socioeconomic background.
Additionally, promoting environmentally friendly practices can help to reduce the negative impact of cleaning chemicals on low-income and minority communities, which are often disproportionately affected by pollution and toxic waste.
Implementing green cleaning practices demonstrates responsible governance in several ways.
- It shows a commitment to environmental stewardship by reducing the adverse impact cleaning chemicals have on the environment. By using non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning products, organizations can reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
- It demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility. By using non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning products, organizations can promote the health and safety of their workers and the broader community. This can help to reduce the negative impact of cleaning chemicals on low-income and marginalized communities, which are often disproportionately affected by pollution and toxic waste.
- It displays a commitment to ethical governance by promoting transparency and accountability. By implementing proper labeling and training, organizations can ensure that workers and the public know the environmental and health impacts of cleaning products. This can build trust with stakeholders and promote greater accountability.
Simple Methods for Implementing Green Cleaning in the Workplace
Methods to reduce waste and environmental impact while maintaining high cleaning standards include implementing:
- Reusable cleaning tools: Instead of disposable cleaning tools, opt for reusable ones. Establish a rental program to collect and launder mops, shop towels, and microfiber wipes. This approach reduces waste and associated costs.
- Dilution control systems: Using excessive chemicals can harm surfaces, equipment, people, and the environment. Dilution control systems dispense the proper amount of chemicals required for the task, reducing waste and improving cleaning results.
- Smart paper towel dispensers: Traditional paper towel dispensers generate excess waste. Upgrade to auto-setting dispensers with adjustable length options, which reduce the use of excess paper towels.
- Matting: Walk-off matting placed at entrances helps trap dirt and debris from being tracked inside, reducing the need for frequent cleaning and chemical use.
- Products and services that support green building certifications: Facility managers can achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for their buildings by using cleaning products and services that meet specific requirements. Check with your supplier for eco-friendly solutions that contribute to securing LEED credits.
References & Resources
Green cleaning practices can contribute positively to a company's ESG score by reducing its environmental impact, promoting social responsibility, and demonstrating good governance practices.
Onboarding and managing the requisite labor and material resources in the current market may prove cost-prohibitive and undesirable for many organizations.
Outsourcing is a proven method for onboarding skilled service providers equipped with the latest training, processes, and technologies for a fraction of the price of maintaining a comparable service in-house.
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