Open Letter to the Professional Cleaning Industry: We Must Address Climate Change Now

In May 2014, the National Climate Assessment report noted that climate change is no longer something that may happen in the distant future; instead, it’s here in the United States now.

“Scientists and engineers from around the world have compiled this evidence using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers at surface stations, and many other types of observing systems that monitor the Earth’s weather and climate,” says the report. “The sum total of [all] this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming.”

Further, the report says much of this warming is due to human activities.

I realize there are some who are skeptical about these conclusions.  However, even if the report is only partially correct, it still paints a challenging picture for us today and for future generations.

Because of this, I am calling on leaders in the professional cleaning industry to begin discussing this issue and see what we as an industry can and should be doing to deal with it.

Among the things I suggest  that should be discussed and considered:

  • Evaluate cleaning equipment based on the amount of energy used for operation or recharging. In addition, develop standards and goals to reduce energy consumption.
  • Implement sustainability color-coding systems for end customers, designating what electronics—from lights to vending machines—can be turned down or off in their facilities.
  • Use cold water for cleaning whenever possible; many professional cleaning chemicals work effectively using cold water.
  • Use Green cleaning chemicals. These are typically made from renewable resources and have a reduced impact on health and the environment.
  • Become Greener and more sustainable in all businesses operations, from recycling to finding ways to reduce driving and vehicle fuel consumption.

“[And] view climate change as a business issue,” adds Ashkin. “It is very likely going to impact our businesses and our industry. The better we prepare for it now, the more effectively we will be able to deal with it in coming years.”