Trump’s Impact on Green Cleaning
One of the most frequent questions I get now in my travels is what I think will be President Trump’s impact on Green Cleaning. While I am always open to answer all questions, I try to shy away from political issues because my focus, as always, has been to advocate for all the reasons Green Cleaning is necessary to protect health and the environment.
To me, it is not a political issue. It’s a health issue no matter what party or people in government entities are in power at the moment.
However, with the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord on the Environment and the substantial reduction in the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency, I decided the time had come to address these questions more forthrightly.
But before I do, I must add that whether we agree with him or not, the President has every right to make his own decisions on whether to stay on or withdraw the U.S. from the Accord.
As to some of the questions I am frequently asked about this issue, below are just a few:
Will the Federal government continue to purchase environmentally preferable cleaning products?
For now, the answer is yes, and it is yes for a basic reason: many of the purchasing contracts the U.S. government has signed with jansan suppliers will continue for another one, two, or more years. Those contracts will be honored.
Will state and local communities as well as school districts continue to purchase Green Cleaning products?
In most cases, state and local government bodies, as well as school districts, are placing more emphasis on selecting environmentally preferable products, not less. As of July 2015, ten states and the District of Columbia, have enacted laws requiring green cleaning products and methods to be used in schools. Ten years ago, only one state, New York, has passed such legislation. We can expect these numbers to grow and in schools specifically, where parents, teachers, and administrators increasingly believe it is necessary.
What impact will this current administration’s actions have on Green Cleaning in general?
If this were happening a decade or more ago, the Green Cleaning movement would be vulnerable and its future uncertain. But at this stage of the game, with all the time and resources the professional cleaning industry has put into the development of environmentally preferable cleaning products, as well as customer demand for these products – which has always been the driving force for Green Cleaning – I do not see any turning back. The selection of Green Cleaning products is now “modus operandi” in all types of facilities and all types of organizations.
What is your advice to building managers, jansan manufacturers, distributors, and cleaning contractors about the future of Green Cleaning?
My advice is this: continue continuing on. Let’s say a manufacturer or a distributor decides to no longer make or market environmentally preferable cleaning products. This will open new opportunities for those manufacturers and distributors still focused on Green Cleaning.
Further, much of my work involves working with building managers and jansan manufacturers, and I have simply not seen any movement away from Green Cleaning.
And if we look at what some of the leading companies in our country are doing – Google, Apple, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sacks, Adobe, and Microsoft – we see these companies increasingly supporting the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products. In addition, they are also becoming much more focused on developing sustainability strategies as well. Very often, they are turning to their janitorial contractors and distributors to help them with these sustainability initiatives.
It cannot be denied we are going through a somewhat trying period with environmental issues and some of the actions of the Trump administration. However, I view all challenges, including this one, as an opportunity and I suggest that our industry do the same. As Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity contains, at the same time, a seed of equivalent opportunity.”
Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, and the professional cleaning industry’s leading advocate for promoting sustainability. He is also CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, which offers a cloud-based dashboard that allows organizations to measure, report and improve their sustainability efforts. He is the coauthor of both The Business of Green Cleaning and Green Cleaning for Dummies