Meet Your Sustainability Goals With ISSA’s Global Initiative

2023 green cubes

2023 is sure to be a year full of challenges and opportunities as the global cleaning industry emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to deal with labor shortages, inflation, and cost cutting. Sustainability will be among the most intriguing challenges the industry will tackle, along with requirements for detailed reporting on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

For those unconvinced that sustainability is a significant emerging issue, consider the following. In 2021, 96% of the S&P 500 companies published sustainability reports, a substantial increase compared to the 20% that published sustainability reports just 10 years ago, according to the Governance & Accountability Institute Inc. That increase correlates with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to require public companies to submit sustainability reports. Requirements for reporting will affect the companies’ suppliers (including those in the cleaning industry) soon.

Considering your footprint

The global cleaning industry’s environmental footprint is huge, comprising tens of thousands of companies with manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and offices; delivery trucks and cars; and more than 100 million workers. The
challenges and opportunities members of the cleaning industry face are equally huge. To help the industry respond to sustainability matters, ISSA has launched a global initiative to provide timely resources, guidance, and other tools for supporting short- and long-term goals. As with any enormous challenge, ISSA is thinking big; it will take a lot of people to transform the industry.

ISSA’s call for volunteers to help with the initiative received strong support, with upwards of 150 people applying from nine countries. The volunteers include manufacturers, distributors, service providers, property management companies, universities, governments, sports organizations, and more.

The new Sustainability Committee will form working groups to address specific topics such as education needs, international needs, and tools for reporting and responding to customer requests. It will segment specific groups for distributors and service providers, ISSA Show organizers, and mentors for the next generation of sustainability leaders.

Banishing ho-hum meetings

To provide extra value and fun, monthly virtual meetings will include a guest speaker from a range of sustainability experts. For the initial meeting, Scott Jenkins, chairman of the board of the Green Sports Alliance, gave an uplifting and
interesting presentation on sustainability efforts by professional and collegiate sports teams. Additional amazing and talented speakers are being lined up for 2023.

ISSA plans to host monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at noon ET. Discussions are underway to set up additional gatherings, especially for the convenience of the committee’s international members. If you would like to participate, fill out the application at

Taking a positive spin

Sustainability can be a benefit or a burden depending on how organizations address it. ISSA is committed to providing the tools and leadership its members need to succeed in minimizing their environmental footprint and making a difference on a global level for years to come.

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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