Lincolnwood, IL — “ISSA promotes an inclusive approach to defining green cleaning products that recognizes the three premier North American ecolabeling organizations — the EPA’s Design for the Environment, EcoLogo™ and Green Seal™,” said ISSA Market Development Manager-Facility Service Programs Annie Balonick. Balonick made the remarks at the 2009 Legislative Summit conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in mid-July.
NCSL is a nonprofit organization that serves the legislators and staffs of all 50 U.S. states, plus U.S. commonwealths and territories. The NCSL Legislative Summit provides opportunities for state-policy makers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. This year’s summit featured a special session on green cleaning procurement, which featured, in addition to Balonick, Rep. Karen May (D-IL) and Yve Torrie, from the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production.
NCSL added the session on green cleaning procurement policy in response to the increased activity on this issue by state legislatures across the country. ISSA’s Balonick was invited to share industry’s perspective on the issue.
In providing an overview of state green cleaning activity, Balonick noted that 18 states have established green cleaning procurement policies of one kind or another. Balonick further noted that in the past few years, the trend has been for state governments to take a more comprehensive approach and address a broader range of cleaning products with such green cleaning policies.
Moreover, Balonick observed that state governments are increasing their reliance on the three North American ecolabel programs in defining and identifying “acceptable” green cleaning products. Reliance on these programs provides state regulators with an easy way to select green products with assurance that they are environmentally preferable and efficacious. In addition, by relying on all three ecolabel programs (as opposed to a single program), state governments can ensure that a robust supply of environmentally preferable products is available at competitive prices. This approach ensures that the transition to green cleaning will be cost neutral, a critical element in today’s challenging economic climate.
Balonick also noted that the green cleaning procurement policies not only drive demand by the public sector, but also serve to stimulate demand for green cleaning products and services in the private sector.
Finally, Balonick discussed ISSA’s efforts in promoting the greening of the industry, focusing on new programs and resources available to association members. Specifically, Balonick featured the pending expansion of the popular Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and certification program to include a new green building (GB) dimension. The expansion of CIMS will add new green cleaning criteria to the traditional five sections of management best practices and will form the basis for a new designation. The new designation is intended to assist end users in immediately identifying those cleaning organizations that have established green cleaning practices in accordance with an industry standard; the designation will also provide state legislators with a tool that can be written into state policies to ensure that both products and services are environmentally preferable.