Greenwashed Janitorial Services Come Clean

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Greenwashed Janitorial Services Come Clean

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#Greenwashed Janitorial Services Come Clean
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 12:15pm

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) June 29, 2010 - “Green is more hype than fact,” says one anonymous janitorial services owner.  “The client never checks out the cleaning service, so we pretty much do what we want … Green or not,” he adds.  Such is the truth behind the thousands of “Green” Janitorial services in the marketplace.  Greenwashing is never a problem when it comes to chasing a deal.  After all, everyone now knows that a few minutes on the computer can produce a Green image that suddenly becomes the company’s promise of Green commitment.

Here’s how nearly every janitorial service handles Green.  They buy some Green cleaning products, and that makes them Green.  When one janitorial services was asked if his company uses HEPA vacuums, he responded, “What is HEPA?”  Yet, there are dozens of Green processes such as understanding “Dwell Time” that never get across to the people doing the work.  At best the workers get a pre-work introduction to a Green product and then its back to work.

The quality of the indoor air of your building is seriously impacted by the cleaning service.   The janitorial service introduces a fresh batch of VOC-laden chemicals, fragrances, and throw out the non-recycled paper from the office.   What the world seems to miss is that the janitorial service is one of the key elements in a Green office or building.  Unfortunately, the work often goes to the lowest bidder rather than the one that is most qualified.

As mandates for Green purchasing, Green vendors, and Green contracts are made a more ingrained practice; we may finally see the graduation of the janitorial service as a partner in the Green business rather than a neglected task that is easily ignored.  And frankly, it is time that every part of the service industry shares in the environmental issue rather than just marketing on its value.

The FTC has recently addressed deceptive practices in advertising, including the issue of Greenwashing.  What is coming in the next rendition is the forced changes that will come from businesses to hire only “Green Certified” companies. The EPA has issued its “Environmentally Preferred Purchasing” guidelines, and this too is yet another nail in the Greenwasher’s coffin.  Look out for a revision in the RFPs and contracts coming out as astute companies are now requiring “Green Certified” vendors for all their contracting needs.

Why would companies include the “Green Certification Clause” in RFPs and contracts?  Well, it is the new call with “Walk the Walk as well as Talk the Talk,”  When Company A is asking the public or other companies to buy from them as a Green supplier, shouldn’t they do the same?  If a company is selling Green, they should be buying Green?  This is why the hypocrisy of Greenwashing is destined to a bad end.  It promotes a lie in the name of something good.  Worse yet.  Many businesses like it that way.

More and more agencies, industries, and corporations are taking Green seriously by asking that vendors and services make a serious Green commitment.  Whenever a company makes up its own Green credential or even buys a phony logo off the Internet, they are Greenwashing and should be summarily dismissed from bidding on contracts.  These behaviors show a lack of integrity and ethics that is likely to show up on other levels.

The Green Clean Institute offers the leading Green Clean certification in the country with more than 1500 graduates from their program. Businesses are encouraged to demand Green Certification from their janitorial services as a basic expectation for any Green company.  This is not an onerous task, but provides a training and review process that comes from an independent third party.  Frankly, why wouldn’t any janitorial company make the commitment to a Green operation rather than Greenwashing?  Again, it is a character issue; and that should be a big reason to ignore the Greewashers and commit your business to a company with Green credentials that you can trust.



Aaron James
Green Clean Institute