ISSA’s Sustainability Committee Wants You!

ISSA’s Sustainability Committee Wants You!

Victor Hugo once wrote, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” and today that idea is sustainability.

ISSA began developing programming around green cleaning about 25 years ago. At that time, green cleaning was only a niche issue within the industry. Nonetheless, ISSA proceeded to meet the interests of its membership, and as a result, green cleaning became a fixture in the industry. Now, sustainability has the same potential and is receiving similar attention.

Sustainability is not about politics or tree-hugging. It is instead being driven by several factors, such as the increased frequency of extreme weather events that are posing significant financial risks to building owners and investors. These events have triggered a response from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to ultimately require publicly traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. This disclosure will affect their suppliers, including those of us in the cleaning industry.

ISSA responds to the idea

In August 2021, ISSA’s Board of Directors created its initial Sustainability Committee and formally announced the group about a year later. Recently, the committee began collecting examples of sustainability requests from customers and found well over 100 different requirements due to the complete lack of standardized reporting requirements. This nonconformity creates real headaches and business barriers, especially for ISSA’s small- and medium-sized members that lack the expertise and resources to weed through and respond to all the requirements.

Regardless of one’s views on sustainability; climate change; and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting, customer sustainability requirements have increasingly become a big issue. Those in the cleaning industry would benefit from training and education, as well as reporting assistance.

How you can get involved

Margaret Mead once wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Today, we are those people.

ISSA is issuing a “call for volunteers” open to all those who are interested. Priority will be given to those with technical expertise, along with a passion for sustainability. 

ISSA is still flushing out the specifics on training and tools to support the sustainability efforts of the cleaning industry. For example, how do we engage hundreds—and maybe even thousands—of people from around the globe? How do we ensure that the tools and programs will be technically accurate, with enough specificity to meet the local needs of a broad group? How do we develop our future industry leaders in sustainability? How do we engage people’s passions and make it fun?

We hope you will apply to be a volunteer with the committee. After all, sustainability is an idea whose time has come, and with thoughtful, committed members, we can change the industry and contribute to a better world.

Stephen P. Ashkin

President, The Ashkin Group

Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in green cleaning and sustainability. He can be reached at [email protected].

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ISSA’s Sustainability Committee Wants You!
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