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6 Sustainability management in facility cleaning through strategic business decisions, financial or policy incentives ing fewer cleaning products. It results in positive sales growth, more or mandatory certifications. revenue and longer lasting client relationships. Case in point: EMAS certification. In 2009, the reasons why EMAS At the social/societal level it leads to less personnel turnover, lower members, for instance, opted to obtain EMAS certification were ex- accident and illness rates and more satisfied, motivated co-workers. amined as part of a cost-benefit survey. Here are the key arguments At the environmental level it leads to a reduction in the consumption that scored above ten percent among all 426 questions: resource and of non-renewable resources as well as of energy and water. It also manufacturing efficiency, management culture, improved corporate reduces waste and the use of substances that are harmful to the en- image, transparency for stakeholders, and regulatory compliance. vironment. The most frequently cited argument for certification renewal: “Be- The 480 EMAS-certified participants in a cost-benefit study identified cause customers want it.” a number of concrete benefits resulting from certification: The direct link between the demands of customers for greater sus- 1. Energy savings tainability and the commitment of service providers to greater sus- 2. Improved stakeholder relations tainability is evident. A survey of CAFM (computer-aided facility 3. Less downtime management) users on the importance of sustainabil-ity in 2011 4. Improved market opportunities brought Pelzeter, May and Kummert to the following conclusion. Al- 5. Increased productivity ready then close to twenty percent of the customers tried to act as 6. Cost savings often as possible accord-ing to 7. Lower personnel turnover A must for successful facility sustainable principles. Fifty The financial benefits related to certification are derived from: cleaning companies percent of the customers in- 1. Lower energy consumption tended to require that clean- 2. More efficient resource utilization ing services be aligned with sustainability aspects. The remaining 3. Easier access to subsidies customers very rarely asked about the sustainability of the services 4. Savings in terms of lower legal costs and more efficient provided or felt that sustain-ability played a subordinate role. What production processes a customer could demand in the context of sustainable cleaning may, 5. Lower insurance premiums for instance, be derived from the sustainability check I developed for 6. Lower taxes. cleaning contractors. The costs of certification costs, unclear benefits and the lack of a The impetus for sustainable action can thus come from within or clearly defined sustainability strategy were the most frequently cit- from outside the organization. If we take into account general and ed reasons for not renewing certification (= decertification). public policy-driven developments, then it becomes obvious that the As yet, we cannot yet quantify the benefits of sustainable action for demand for certificates that attest to sustainable behavior will most cleaning contractors in percentages or money terms. What is clear, definitely increase in future. Cleaning contractors with a clear sus- however, is that sustainable action leads to innovation and thus to tainability strategy will be the winners. The fact that sustainable opportunities for differentiation at the company, service and product service providers would be at an advantage is something that 180 level. respondents confirmed in the first sustainability survey conducted Although sustainability is a hot topic in by Wisag in 2011. The benefits of the cleaning trade, desk research for this Committing to sustainability creates positive change and value. acting sustainably article yielded the conclusion that sus- At the economic or business level it leads to cost reductions through tainable cleaning services as such are proactive health protection for co-workers, process optimization and still quite rare and far from becoming the standard. It was also clear energy and water savings, and through savings that come from us- that there are barely any specific qualification systems for assessing 1 http://www.agenda21-treffpunkt.de/info/nachhalt.htm (retrieved 13 March 2013) 2 Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (Schweizerisches Bundesamt für Raumentwicklung - 2012): ‘A Guide to Sustainable Development in Switzerland,’ p. 12, http://www.are.admin.ch/themen/nachhaltig/00260/index.html?download (retrieved 3 April 2016) 3 Nävy, Jens; Schröter, Matthias (2013): ‘Facility Services, The Operative Level of Facility Managements,’ Chap. 5.2 Sustainability and Facility Services, Springer Vieweg publishers, Berlin Heidelberg 4 Public policy: https://www.nachhaltigkeit.info/artikel/politik_1976.htm (retrieved 1 April 2016) 5 For additional information: http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/themen/chemikalien/wasch-reinigungsmittel/umweltbewusst-waschen-reinigen/gewerbliche-reinigung (retrieved 1 April 2016) 6 Falkenbach, Heidi; Lindholm Anna-Liisa; Schleich, Helmut (2010): Environmental Sustainability: Drivers for the Real Estate Investor, Journal of Real Estate Literature, pp. 201. 7 EMAS ( Eco-Management and Audit Scheme), EMAS, is a voluntary environmental management tool instituted by the European Union for companies and other organizations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. 8Milieu Ltd.; Risk and Policy Analysis Ltd. (2009): Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organizations commissioned by DG Environment of the European Commission, p. 7, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/pdf/news/costs_and_benefits_of_emas.pdf (retrieved 1 April 2016)


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