EFCI engages actively with UN Sustainable Development Goals

6th of April 2021
EFCI engages actively with UN Sustainable Development Goals

EFCI, which represents our sector at EU level, is actively engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN. It believes the cleaning and facilities sector has a key role to play. 

In September 2015, the 193 UN member states unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, an unprecedented 15-year common plan to achieve the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). The Agenda has at its centre 17 interconnected and indivisible goals which establish at their turn 192 specific targets.

The SDGs and their targets are universally applicable in developing and developed countries alike and recognise environmental sustainability concerns as an essential and transversal dimension of human development, alongside the social, economic, and political ones. The SDGs recognise the key role business can play in achieving them by applying creativity and innovation to solve development challenges.

In light of the COVID-19 health crisis, UN Chief António Guterres recognised the pandemic as an “unprecedented wake-up call”, exposing more evidently than ever the urgency to deliver on the 2030 Agenda. So the European Commission has agreed the Recovery Plan, leading the way out of the crisis, shall lay the foundations for a modern and more sustainable Europe. The SDGs have gained a new momentum and their objectives were relaunched as part of the global response to COVID-19. EFCI has analysed how the cleaning and facility services sector can contribute.

While since 2015 the cleaning industry’s formal commitment to the SDGs has seen only a partial uptake compared to the wider business community, cleaning and facility services companies have been thoroughly engaged in the industry’s transition to a more sustainable and energy-efficient business model.

As the recognised European Social Partner at industrial sectoral level, EFCI actively works to promote employment, safe and inclusive work environments and has set as a priority to support the sector in the transition to a more circular and sustainable model of services. It believes our sector can act as a key partner and a transversal vector toward a more sustainable Europe through a transformational recovery from the pandemic.

How EFCI contributes

The EFCI engages with the SDGs’ objectives and especially those in the fields of health, hygiene, sanitation, urban spaces upkeep, quality employment and equal opportunities, which members and the companies they represent have long contributed to achieve.

The EFCI engages to contribute improving access to safe, effective, quality and essential healthcare services and strengthen the capacity for the reduction and management of national and global health risks.

Professional cleaning is essential for the overall protection of human health, especially in healthcare. Our industry enables healthcare services to maintain the highest standards in cleanliness and hygiene through professionally implemented cleaning and sanitisation operations using recommended protocols and products.

In the current health crisis, the sector has been widely acknowledged in its key role to contain the outbreak of the virus and prevent its propagation.

The EFCI engages to contribute improving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and increase water-use efficiency.

The industry helps to improve easy access to hygiene solutions and plays a key role in ensuring safe, hygienic and secure sanitation, critical to protecting human health against infectious disease.

Labour rights

Further, the EFCI supports cleaning companies’ voluntary efforts to implement existing and innovative solutions to improve water efficiency in the cleaning sector by encouraging clients’ ecological transition.

The EFCI engages to contribute achieving full employment, protecting labour rights, promoting safe
working environments, inclusive labour markets and reducing the number of young people not in employment, education or training.

The industrial cleaning and facility services sector is a growing and inclusive industry, with 72 per cent of its +4.1 million employees in Europe being women and a 30 per cent having a migrant background.

As the recognised European Social Partner the EFCI and its members permanently engage in social dialogue; promote health and safety at work and non-discrimination as a main priority; support the upskilling and reskilling of workers through the SK-Clean project; collaborate with the European Youth Guarantee and promote the sector as a valid career option for the young and unemployed.

The EFCI engages to contribute promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all as well as ensuring equal opportunities and adopting policies and practices to achieve greater equality.

The cleaning sector has demonstrated it is engaged in job creation and the integration of workers into the labour market, as well as ensuring quality employment. The EFCI contributes to this goal by promoting social dialogue, quality-based procurement and the importance of skills and professionalism in the sector. Moreover, it is committed to the fight against undeclared work and unfair competition.

The EFCI engages to contribute improving access to safe, inclusive, and accessible green and public spaces as well as reducing the environmental impact of cities.

Our sector plays a key role in improving the quality of urban environments by ensuring access to clean, hygienic and functional green and public spaces.

Cleaning and facility services companies are doing this while contributing to new models of urban development. To this end, the EFCI supports the sector in encouraging buyers to choose offers of services based on more sustainable cleaning protocols and operations.

Encouraging partnership

The EFCI is committed to enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development and encouraging effective public-private and civil society partnerships for the goals.

The EFCI actively engages with its members, European institutions, civil society and others to strengthen the partnership for sustainable development.

Through its active participation in the European social dialogue and other forums, like the European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work or the European Ecolabelling Board, EFCI ensures the views and experience of the sector are taken into account in all policy initiatives to deliver on the SDGs. 



Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited