Malcolm Bennet from ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Mid Anglia discusses the ongoing initiatives that are helping him to run a sustainable business.
As climate change becomes an ever-present issue in the media and public consciousness, there is a growing focus on collective responsibility.
This can include collectives as large as entire nations as countries prepare to face this looming threat.
But it can also mean businesses.
Although, with the cost-of-living crisis still taking centre stage in the UK, many are focusing on costs above thoughts of sustainability business models.
In fact, according to Forbes, although 90% of businesses think that sustainability is essential, only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy in place.
This raises the question:
Do businesses have a responsibility to operate sustainably?
The short answer is yes.
Much of our carbon production, as the main culprit in global warming, has to do with our businesses, industry and production habits.
As global economies have improved over recent decades, the demand and production of goods and services have increased, and energy demand has soared, along with our collective carbon footprint.
The increased combustion of fossil fuels to meet this demand has seen annual global greenhouse gas emissions increase by 50% over the past 30 years.
And according to the European Environment Agency, only a small number of industrial facilities are responsible for 50% of air pollution-related damage in Europe.
To do their bit to combat this – businesses like ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Mid Anglia feel compelled to do their bit by operating their businesses more sustainably.
Malcolm Bennet, ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Mid Anglia’s Manager Director, says that when looking to improve the company’s environmental standing, his main thought was a sense of responsibility that compelled him to act.
“Morally, I felt we should be doing something. I thought, if all I do is think about it, I’ll never do anything,” he says.
So, in October 2022, Malcolm and his team began implementing sustainable and environmentally friendly initiatives across the business.
What initiatives are in place?
Vehicles and electricity
While still relatively new in the grand scheme of things, the business has managed to operate electric cars and hybrid vans, including a fully electric sales car, and introduce free-to-use charging points for staff at the office.
This goes hand-in-hand with existing habits within the business of fuel efficiency and not making unnecessary journeys.
This alone can have an enormous impact.
For example, according to the Harvard Business Review, by improving fuel efficiency by roughly 87% between 2005 and 2014, Walmart avoided 15,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and saved nearly $11 million in one year.
Though this is one of the largest companies in the world, this example illustrates the scale that simple fuel efficiency can have on costs and the environment.
Malcolm also implemented LED bulbs in the business office, which are more sustainable and equipped with sensors so that they only turn on when people are in the room, increasing energy efficiency.
Tree planting initiatives
One of the main initiatives that Malcolm and his team have undertaken since October is planting trees for each quarter and new client.
“Once a quarter, we plant 50 trees ourselves and then, for every new customer, donate a tree on their behalf and send them a certificate,” says Malcolm.
Since October, this has led to the planting of around 270, which, within a year, will have absorbed about 13,008 pounds of carbon dioxide – approx. 930 stone!
The impact this has is not just on the environment, as the sustainability practices and certification are a great example of how we go above and beyond for clients.
Malcolm says that the initiatives have been a conversation starter for many customers.
“All of our vehicles have electric/green [indicators] to point out that they’re electric, so when we go to customers, it becomes a bit of a talking point.”
The tree planting, he adds,
“Has been quite… not popular – because I don’t think people buy into the business just for that. But they appreciate it when they do see it.”
Malcolm is right.
While there is more to choosing a business for a job than its sustainability record, research from Wunderman Thompson found that 83% of consumers will always choose a brand with a better sustainability record.
Getting the ball rolling
Malcolm says that he hopes that he feels businesses have a degree of responsibility to set an example.
He says he hopes other businesses will see the benefit and reasons to operate more sustainably and follow suit.
“You’ve got to start doing these things, and the more people that start doing it, it snowballs,” he says.
“Hopefully, we can encourage others to do it and start making a difference themselves.”
“We’ll continue to ensure that our office operations follow a green model and work with our suppliers and supply network to encourage them to do the same.”
The value of a brand that cares
The work of Malcolm and his team epitomises the ServiceMaster commitment to caring about our customers and environment and going above and beyond the call of duty.
We know that the value of a good service goes beyond just cost, which is why we pride ourselves on building long-lasting and trusted relationships with our clients.
If, like Malcolm, you’re looking to grow a business that allows you to support the environment and your local community by providing professional contract cleaning services, contact our franchise sales team today on 0116 275 9000.