Choose a Distributor That Values Sustainability

Choose a Distributor That Values Sustainability

In the near future, the word “sustainability” is going to come up a lot more in the professional cleaning industry. Sustainability in our industry refers to the impact that the actions and operations of jansan distributors, manufacturers, and cleaning contractors have on their clients and employees, as well as on natural resources, the environment, and local communities.

As a contractor, in-house cleaner, or facility manager, chances are good you’re already implementing green practices. The direction our industry has taken in transferring from traditional to environmentally preferable cleaning products over the past 15 years has been nothing less than exceptional. We are leaders in reducing the environmental impact of our products and, in doing so, helping to protect the health of all building users. But now we must take this one step further.

I am asking facility managers, cleaning contractors, and all purchasers of jansan products to encourage distributors (as well as manufacturers, if they are purchasing directly from the manufacturer) to adopt sustainability initiatives. I am doing so for the very same reason that our industry’s transfer to green cleaning products has been so successful. Our customers asked for green products and services, and we delivered. Now we must follow our customers’ example and make the same request of our product distributors. Just as in the case of green cleaning, I am confident jansan distributors will deliver.

In practical terms, if you’re a purchaser, building owner, facility manager, or contract cleaner who has already embarked on your sustainability path, now is the time to update sustainability requests to your product distributors and manufacturers. Be sure to address the following issues:

  • Measure the energy impact of your distributors’ offices and warehouses; ask for their ENERGY STAR scores from 2016 and 2017, as well as their improvement plans for 2018. An ENERGY STAR rating measures a building’s energy consumption compared to similar buildings nationwide.
  • Ask how many miles per gallon of gasoline their delivery vehicles achieved in 2016 and 2017, and whether they have set up fuel efficiency improvement plans for 2018.
  • Ask how your distributors’ water consumption has changed from 2016 to 2017. What are their plans to conserve water in 2018?
  • Inquire as to any improvements in waste reduction the distributors made in the past two years. Do they have improvement goals for the future?
  • Considering the amount of cleaning products the distributors sold over the past two years, ask them to determine what percent of these products were green. Do they plan to increase the amount of green cleaning products they sell in subsequent years?

A better understanding of sustainability issues will help you identify the best—the most sustainability focused—suppliers from both an environmental and a cost perspective. After all, the goal of sustainability is not just to protect our environment. It is also to improve cleaning efficiencies, which invariably results in cost savings.

Posted On May 8, 2018

Stephen Ashkin

President, The Ashkin Group

Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in green cleaning and sustainability. He can be reached at

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Choose a Distributor That Values Sustainability
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