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The ESG factor

Swift Cleaning explains the ESG factor

Make sure your next commercial cleaning contractor has its own Environmental, Social and Governance policy – Swift Cleaning explains why.

ESG (Environmental Social Governance) has been the buzzword of the past couple of years, along with ‘hands, face, space’. You can rarely read a corporate review or business news piece without someone mentioning ESG policies or ESG governance – but what is ESG? Why all the hype, and why should you use ESG policies as a measure when hiring a cleaning company for your business? Let’s find out.

What is ESG and why all the fuss?

ESG describes ethical, sustainable work practices:

Environmental includes things like resources, climate change, waste, recycling, pollution, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Social includes working conditions, working hours, impact on communities, training, health and safety within the workplace, staff wellbeing and conflict resolution.
Governance can include political lobbying, fraud and corruption, executive pay, diversity within the workforce and boardroom, business structure, tax strategy and corporate responsibility.

There’s a lot more to ESG than that, but you get the idea.

The term apparently began in finance, where investors wanted a measure they could use when investing to show them whether a company was environmentally-aware or sustainable. ESG gradually spilled out into other industries, including office cleaning.

Why all the fuss?

There’s a simple reason why ESG is a byword of the day: because people demand it.

Customers expect suppliers and businesses to do everything they can to become sustainable and as environmentally friendly as possible. That means people investing in those companies need to demand the same. Investors, stakeholders, partners and suppliers all need to consider ESG now because the wider world expects it of the companies they want to do business with.

Identifying office cleaners complying with ESG

Even though the concept of ESG has been around for a couple of years, it’s still emerging and maturing as a standard. If the cleaning company you’re planning to work with doesn’t specifically state their commitment to ESG, there are other signs.

These include:

• Commitment to sustainable sourcing

Sustainability doesn’t just stop with your suppliers: it has to extend to their suppliers as well. Look for acommercial cleaning company that holds their own suppliers to the same standards they adhere to.

There are clear indicators of this policy in action, such as working with suppliers that have ISO 14001 accreditation, meaning they too have fully functional environmental management systems in place.

• Commitment to replace harsh chemicals

Chemical use is an inescapable part of cleaning – however, the type of chemicals used can make a huge difference. Many existing chemicals are harmful to the environment both to produce and to use. Any company that’s committed to replacing these chemicals with more sustainable alternatives is worth doing business with.

• Commitment to recycling consumables

Office cleaning uses a lot of consumables such as cloths, towels, cleaning fluids and other equipment. Companies that use recycled or recyclable consumables, equipment from sustainable sources, biodegradable consumables or ethically-sourced consumables, has ESG at their heart.

• Green cleaning and ESG

To be truly part of the ESG movement, a company has to live and work sustainably, rather than just use it in their marketing. There should be an obvious commitment to sustainable training, equipment, consumables and chemicals. There should also be a clear, public commitment to improving working conditions, minimising waste and providing the same high standards of cleaning using fewer harsh chemicals.

If you’re planning on leveraging ESG for your own promotion, to attract investment or something else, using suppliers that also buy into ESG is a core part of that.

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