I want to rock the green world. I want to shout out that we have spent enough time procrastinating. I have remained silent for too long, but my long awaited opportunity has arrived. I bided my time like a successful animal stalking his prey – first with patience and silence and then with action. The votes are in - climate change is a reality. I do not want ‘sustainable living’, ‘eco awareness’, ‘green cleaning’ to be buzz words or commercial companies to talk about ‘green washing’ because they want to cash in on the ‘we are all going green’ trend. We need to work together towards Vision 2021 to reduce the carbon footprint of the UAE. It is the responsibility of the collective. The time for action is now.
But how do we achieve sustainable living? Actually, we all know how - we have the tools - the question is do we want to use them? My tools are through my 100 per cent green cleaning company, Green Touches where I have combined my years of toxic chemical-free living, my passion for the environment and the desire to share my knowledge of many years of sustainable living.
I want to put forward a theory as to the importance of green cleaning in teaching sustainable living; I believe that green cleaning is the key - toxic chemical-free cleaning. Green cleaning changes the behaviour of people. Once awareness occurs and good behaviour towards our environment develops, this engenders civic responsibility and in turn supports the larger sustainability facilities provided, i.e., recycling, etc. Why would you bother to recycle your rubbish outside of the home if you don’t do it inside the home? Studies have shown that people’s relationship to the environment improves when their surroundings reflect cleanliness. The green cleaning industry is responsible for creating an awareness that will lead people to assume social responsibility towards their environment. A total holistic approach to protecting the customer AND the environment is necessary.
The commercial cleaning industry needs to be concerned with the health and wellbeing of the client; CSR should be built into the company’s genes. Society first, profit second.
No matter what space we are cleaning, making it more sustainable should be the primary objective of the industry, and using fewer resources, fewer materials, less energy expenditure, reduced water and doing it in a way which is safe for the environment and those performing the job are the way forward. The responsibility is on the large commercial companies and employers to show their commitment and be leaders.
In order for buildings like schools, hospitals, hotels, etc., to achieve green certifications like LEED v4, Green Seals, ISSA, green cleaning has become an important proponent. The need to change the direction towards green cleaning and sustainable living is paramount; the community stands ready for this change, and it is the role of companies and institutions to support the development of this ‘trend’, which will be beneficial for all.
I will end with the following words, which have become the credo for Green Touches. These are the words that all companies should bear in mind:
'It is the issue of sustainability, where the biggest gains are likely to be made in the future. Cleaning is not just a sustainable industry – it is the industry of sustainability. It is a sector with wider social and human benefits far beyond the employer-employee relationship. Cleanliness and hygiene help everyone to improve their sustainability.'
(Source: WFBSC – World Federation of Building Service Contractors – Vienna, Austria)