Steve Ashkin of The Ashkin Group, an internationally recognised consulting firm working to green the professional cleaning industry, believes that 2023 will be a pivotal year for the professional cleaning industry when it comes to sustainability. “While many larger companies have sustainability strategies in place, it remains a ‘slow burn priority’ for smaller companies in the industry. That’s going to change in 2023”, says Ashkin.

Among the reasons he cites for this are:
• Awareness of the correlation between violent storms and climate change
• Volatile energy costs/inflation
• Supply chain disruptions
• The need to enhance efficiencies to lower operating costs
• Consumer demand
• New business opportunities

With these factors in mind, Ashkin says the industry can expect the following seven sustainability trends in 2023:
1. Greater transparency: Cleaning supply organisations will become much more transparent about how products are manufactured and transported and their environmental impacts.
2. ‘Foot-printing’: More companies will perform foot-printing – assessing a product’s environmental impact from cradle to grave and share this information with end customers.
3. Address international regulations: More governments will pass laws impacting cleaning supply companies worldwide. In 2023, for example, Germany will require companies to monitor supply chains for human rights violations and ensure partners are not causing environmental degradation.
4. Reshoring/nearshoring: Due to supply chain disruptions and to reduce the use of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions, more cleaning supplies manufacturers will relocate manufacturing in or closer to their home country.
5. Leaner factories: With reshoring and nearshoring, factories will be built or updated that use less energy and water and produce less waste than the factories they are replacing.
6. End-user educating: More cleaning product distributors and building service contractors will become educators, instructing their clients on ways to operate more sustainably and lower facility operating costs.
7. Refurbishing: Expect more cleaning product manufacturers to refurbish discarded cleaning equipment. This will be driven by more end users asking for recycled and refurbished cleaning machines.

“And one more thing,” adds Ashkin. “If there is one word that will describe sustainability in 2023, it’s accountability. End customers will want manufacturers, distributors and cleaning contractors to all be more accountable for the steps they are taking to protect people and the planet.”

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