Creating a culture of sustainability is possible in most any business and organization.
There are several important steps that must be taken for an organization to develop a culture of sustainability. Here are four of the most important ones:
Prioritizing sustainability initiatives. Many businesses have initiatives designed to enhance product quality, cut costs, and improve efficiencies. Very often these initiatives are started at the very top levels of an organization, and are then communicated to workers, vendors, and staffers at all levels. The same must happen with sustainability initiatives. Top-level executives must set specific sustainability targets, such as reducing electricity usage or water consumption. Very often, these goals can be furthered by measuring and monitoring a facility’s use of consumables using cloud-based sustainability dashboard systems (which will be discussed in greater detail later in this article).
Sharing best practices. Cleaning professionals throughout the world are now adopting best practices that make their businesses both more sustainable and more profitable. For instance, many cleaning contractors are taking steps to reduce fuel usage by grouping work schedules in order to serve customers in the same general area at the same time. This can reduce both fuel usage and costs significantly. Many cleaning professional are also looking for new ways to improve overall business and cleaning efficiencies.
It is no surprise, then, to find that end customers (typically facility managers) turn to their cleaning professionals to make their facilities more sustainable as well. For instance, some facilities now use sustainability color-coding systems in which colored dots are placed on power sources. These dots indicate whether a power source or electronic item should be turned off or left on after business hours. The goal of such systems is to empower cleaning workers to turn off power-using systems whenever possible to reduce energy usage and cut costs.
Encouraging everyone to become a sustainability leader. Once workers, vendors, and staff members are fully aware of an organization’s sustainability goals, it is very important to encourage and empower them to be on the lookout for more ways to save energy, reduce consumption, and eliminate waste. The reason for this is rather simple. It is the people actually cleaning and working in a location who typically see firsthand how consumables are used, where they are wasted or could be used more responsibly, and where consumption can be reduced or even eliminated.
One good example of this comes from a beer brewery in North America. Making beer requires huge amounts of water. To help find ways to reduce water use—or at least use it more conscientiously—the brewery began regular “water walks.” Brewer workers would walk thru the brewery seeing how water is used. The water walks encouraged them to look for ways in which water usage could be reduced. As a result, workers found ways to save more than 50 million gallons of water in 2012 alone.
Celebrating successes. Earlier we mentioned the use of cloud-based dashboard technologies, which can be used to measure and monitor a facility’s progress toward meeting sustainability goals. The importance of these systems cannot be overstated. They provide a benchmark that allows business owners, managers, and workers to know where things stand when sustainability initiatives are first instituted. This is crucial to measuring the progress that is then made. And once progress is noted, it must be celebrated within an organization. Both individuals and departments that find ways to reduce consumption and improve efficiencies should be honored. This type of encouragement goes a long way toward promoting the creation of a culture of sustainability.