These days, more and more BSCs are taking steps to make their companies environmentally responsible, or “green.” While going green may have seemed like a fad when it first got off the ground a few decades ago, today it is ubiquitous within most industries, offering numerous tangible benefits that go far beyond the obvious ethical implications.
Adopting sustainable practices not only helps conserve precious natural resources, but it also protects the health of employees and clients, increases operational efficiency, and saves money. If done correctly, making your business more green can also help you win new clients, get an edge on your competition, and establish increased public trust in your brand.
That said, for companies that half-heartedly embrace the green movement while trying to convince clients that they are true champions of sustainability, there can be negative repercussions. Known as “greenwashing,” marketing your company as environmentally friendly when it’s really not is a classic bait and switch con, and the public as well as regulatory authorities don’t take kindly to such false advertising. Indeed, greenwashing can ruin your company’s reputation and even get you sued by the FTC.
However, if you’re truly serious about greening your business and are taking real steps to adopt sustainable practices, then you should be bragging about it. To this end, you should develop an effective marketing strategy to get the word out about your green practices, so the public is aware of your efforts. The following five tips are designed to help you create a truly compelling green marketing campaign.
When promoting your company as green, the most important thing you can do is provide concrete evidence of your company’s sustainable practices. And be specific. Don’t offer vague statements, such as “We use environmentally friendly cleaning products.” Instead, provide detailed proof, such as “All of our cleaning products are ‘Green Seal’ certified.” Rather than simply stating, “We recycle,” say “Last year, our company recycled 90-percent of its paper waste.”
"Greenwashing can ruin your company’s reputation and even get you sued by the FTC."
The public knows that no company can become 100-percent green overnight, so be open and honest about your progress. Show that your company is dedicated to long-term success, rather than offering a few quick fixes. If you’ve taken only a few small steps toward greening, list those steps and offer evidence of how they have worked out, and then let the public know what you’re planning to do next. And don’t be afraid to admit past mistakes— nobody’s perfect and customers will get upset if they find out you’re hiding something.
Get your employees involved
Make sure you employees understand the value of adopting green practices and policies—and then make sure they’re actually following through with them. No matter how green your company claims to be, if your employees are cutting corners or failing to employ the proper procedures, you’re going to look like a complete phony. And get all employees involved, not just those on the job site. Becoming sustainable is something that must take place at all levels of your business, or your efforts to be green in one area will be canceled out by your failure to do so in others.
Gain third-party support
It’s one thing to tell everyone how green your company is, but for real credibility, enlist the support and certification of third-party experts, such as Green Seal, Green Cleaning University, Transpare, and Green Clean Institute. These organizations are specifically designed to help BSCs improve their sustainability and demonstrate their green credentials. Whether you’re looking to purchase the most environmentally safe products and equipment, learn the latest green cleaning best practices, or certify that your green cleaning methods are in line with industry standards, third-party experts can provide you with the resources and qualifications you need.
Demonstrate the personal benefits
Saving the planet is an admirable goal, but clients will also want to know the other, more practical advantages of your green efforts. To do this, explain how they stand to personally benefit from your green cleaning services. The most important benefit is the improved health of a building’s occupants, especially when it comes to environments housing vulnerable populations like schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Become familiar with the dangers of traditional cleaning chemicals and practices, and educate your clients and potential clients with this information. Additionally, discuss the indirect benefits clients stand to gain from improving occupant health, such as reduced absenteeism and improved employee performance. Finally, hiring a green cleaning company can also help clients improve their business reputation and earn credits toward LEED certification.