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FEP commits to sustainability25th of October 2011
French contract cleaning trade association FEP has developed a programme aimed at helping businesses to implement sustainable development. Christian Bouzols reports.
Eleven cleaning companies in the central region of France are taking part in a sustainable development programme organised by the Fédération des Entreprises de Propreté (FEP).
The 11 company bosses concerned have returned to the classroom for a programme that is being staged by FEP throughout the country in order to prepare decision makers to transfer to sustainable development. They have brought with them specialist consultants with the intention of devising action plans in putting sustainable development into practice in their own businesses.
A total of 51 specific actions have been devised, 10 of which have already been taken up by cleaning companies.
These actions are concerned, in particular, with the use of ecolabelled products, the promotion of microfibres, etc. Launched nationally by the FED, the programme is managed by the different French regions with the support of local chambers of the national training fund, which is funding the project.
Having been aware for a long time of the social and environmental implications of sustainable development, the cleaning industry is entering this area by suggesting 51 concrete actions and policies that can be acted upon for the country's social, environmental and economic benefit. Issues like the consumption of water, the sorting of waste, the management of products, the commuting of workers, the inclusion of people removed from work, the adoption of environmentally and socially sustainable practices can present all sorts of problems when confronted with realities in the field.
Therefore, while company managers are well aware of the stakes, to put in place and maintain a lasting sustainable development strategy will prove most complex for companies in their daily operations. It was in order to prepare companies for these changes that the French cleaning federation instigated these courses.
Initially, FEP had hoped to persuade 100 company chiefs to participate in this special plan of training and action on sustainable development. In the event, more than 200 companies, representing some 133,000 workers, took part. The training courses for 2011 and 2012 continue to be fully enrolled in all French regions. This success demonstrates the scale of the requirement to assist cleaning companies in the practical management of sustainable development. This training opportunity will therefore will therefore give participants a strong initial grounding in this area.
It consists of six days of collective training with a specialist consultant, followed by two days of customised and individual follow-up to help each company to make its own diagnosis and plan of action. The training groups are limited to 10 people and training has been structured in modules. Having gone through the six-day training, the participants will have to choose between the 51 plans of action formulated by the programme according to those that would be relevant for them.
At national level, the participating companies are of all sizes, ranging from two to 800 employees. Half of them have fewer than 50 employees, which reflects an industry composed mainly of SMEs, with a sprinkling of large groups.