Today’s consumers want to spend money on socially responsible brands. Over 50 percent are willing to shell out more money for products made by companies that are committed to positive environmental impact, according to a new study by Nielsen.
Facilities maintenance is one way companies can greatly improve their eco efforts. Retailers allocate on average 21 percent of their maintenance budget to cleaning services, yet only one-third have a green cleaning policy in place.
Here are three retailers leading the charge in environmentally conscious cleaning:
• Target is committed nationally to sustainable operations and reducing its carbon footprint. Sixteen Target stores are LEED certified, with sustainable cleaning and maintenance programs incorporating battery-powered rather than propane-powered buffers; waste reduction practices; water conservation; and increasing use of solar power. Four Chicago stores even have green roofs, designed to filter air pollutants, absorb storm water and provide habitats for birds. Target’s efforts also include its Environmentally Sensitive Item Management (ESIM) program, which helps janitorial service vendors identify, properly manage and store environmentally sensitive items that require special handling. The ESIM staging area allows janitorial service vendors to properly sort these items according to their condition and type.
• JCPenney’s logistics facility in Reno, Nevada, is LEED Silver certified, creating strict requirements for green cleaning for the building that also has an ENERGY STAR rating of 90. To maintain the environmental benefits of the building, the program incorporates certified green cleaning products, strict air quality standards, detailed cleaning records and ongoing training for maintenance staff. Even vacuum cleaners must be approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute to protect air quality. And a bonus? The cleaning program also adheres to the building’s water efficiency standards, and 90 percent of the building’s waste is recycled.
• Kohl’s uses sustainable cleaning products to reduce its environmental impact and provide safer air quality for customers and employees alike. The department store chain only contracts janitorial vendors that maintain the green cleaning standards set forth by commercial cleaning solution provider Diversey in its Healthy High Performance Cleaning program. The company’s commitment to sustainable operations doesn’t stop at cleaning: In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently ranked Kohl’s number one among its “Top 30” retail partners for its predominant use of renewal energy sources including solar power.
The benefits of green cleaning
While large retailers aren’t quick to divulge their investment or anticipated return on investment for sustainable maintenance practices, Portland, Oregon-based building management company City Wide says it has saved $1,440 in labor costs per 20,000 square feet annually, thanks to green cleaning methods. Curious about what the benefits for your company might be? Check out the EPA’s Green Cleaning Pollution Prevention Calculator, a tool that estimates the benefits of contracting environmentally friendly janitorial services.
Want to read up on this topic? Check out these sources.
• Green cleaning in commercial real estate by Bizjournals