Sustainability - good for business

2nd of May 2014
Sustainability - good for business

The French cleaning industry is discovering that sustainability policies can result in benefits to the bottom line, reports Christian Bouzols.

The French cleaning industry is finding ways to make environmental protection tie in with savings. After all, companies are faced with constantly changing regulations, rises in the cost of fuel, climate change concerns, responsible procurement demands, etc. These are all good reasons for them to think about reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. However, how are they to convert
these restrictions into real business opportunities?

To help the 25,000 French cleaning contractors - 90 per cent of whom are SMEs - to manage their emissions, the national cleaning federation has developed a novel tool called CarbonArtik which is accessible online. It’s the first time software of this kind is offered to a whole industry.

Specific needs

CarbonArtik is set up to meet the specific requirements of cleaning companies, particularly in terms of travel, waste management, energy use in buildings, maintenance, materials purchases, and so on.

This online platform is based on technology developed by a major developer of non financial software, Enablon. CarbonArtik contains all the features a cleaning contractor might need, ranging from sector specific terminology to the various components of its greenhouse gas emissions, and is adapted to enterprises of all sizes and profiles.

The software thus allows companies to measure their emissions, to identify where they come from, to establish those areas where their emissions can be reduced, their costs cut, their profitability increased, and their assets harnessed for sustainable development.

Lower fuel costs

Travel is obviously a main cost factor for cleaning companies. In what way can it be reduced? One company, Onet, has trained its 3,200 employees in the skills of ‘ecodriving’ by using a simulator specially purchased for this purpose. As a result of this exercise, Onet’s fuel costs have fallen markedly and, even more importantly, so have the traffic accidents involving its staff.

Another company, located in Saint-Etienne, has reorganised its work according to the location of the homes of its 70 workers. Yet another company, Toutenet - with a staff of 130 - has opted for purely electrical transport. The use of such vehicles, combined with a careful planning and scheduling of all its business trips, has enabled this company to make savings of 90 per cent to its travel budget.

These are examples that could be followed by others in the cleaning industry and which show that environmental protection can be made to rhyme with savings in business. It’s a win-win situation.


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