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Green Cleaning

Green cleaning is arguably the No. 1 one trend in our industry and is showing no signs of slowing down. Stated simply, green cleaning is truly a marketplace phenomenon that is being driven by customer demand and the overall trending of the broad marketplace for environmentally preferable products and services.

In recognition of the importance of this marketplace trend, ISSA has devoted this section of our Web site to the subject of green cleaning.

In this section, you will find helpful information in understanding the green cleaning phenomenon, including the latest green cleaning products, implementation of green cleaning programs, ISSA resources, and other information that can help you successfully pursue the green marketplace. Please check out the links in the menu on the left side of this page and start exploring!


Introduction to Green Cleaning

Green cleaning means the use of those products and services that have a lesser or reduced impact on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This definition comes from terms laid out in U.S. President Barack Obama's Executive Order No. 13514.

While simple in its approach, this definition incorporates the following three key concepts.

Human health. Of course, the principle purpose of cleaning is to protect human health so any definition of green or environmentally preferable should address human-health considerations. In the realm of green cleaning, this means we must give due deference to the health impacts cleaning has on custodial personnel and the occupants of the built environment where we are performing our cleaning activities. Special consideration should be given to more vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems.

Comparative in Nature. Note that the above definition of green cleaning is comparative in nature. In other words, it does not set an absolute or final endpoint of what is environmentally preferable. Instead, it makes a comparison to competing products and services and thereby encourages continual improvement along the green spectrum.

Performance. Lastly, implicit in this definition is the concept that green products and services must perform their intended function of cleaning. It goes without saying that a cleaning product that cannot clean is a waste of resources altogether and is therefore the antithesis of environmentally preferable. More importantly, the performance of cleaning products is critical to maintaining a safe and healthy indoor environment.

More Costly Green Products Are More Desirable

July 27, 2010 — At first, green cleaning was simply ignored in the jansan world, then it was considered a fad, but now it’s the primary trend in the professional cleaning industry.

Environmentally friendly products are now used for just about everything, ranging from bamboo towels to green cleaning products.

But according to a new study by Viadas Griskevicius, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, this may be because Green products are now seen as a status symbol in some market segments.*

"Green purchases are often motivated by status," he says. "People want to be seen as altruistic. Nothing communicates that better than buying green products, even if they cost more or are inferior to comparable, nongreen products [but are seen as] benefiting the environment for everyone.”

As an example, Griskevicius uses the Toyota Prius. Although the car is considerably more expensive than others in its size category, “[It] essentially functions as a mobile, self-promoting billboard for pro-environmentalism. When you publicly display your environmentally friendly nature, you send a signal [to others] that you care."

Professor Griskevicius based his study on online purchasing patterns. He found that when online shoppers make practicality the focus of their buying decision, the cost of a product is their key concern—not how Green it is.

Similarly, when the emphasis of the purchasing decision is on luxury and comfort, once again the environmental responsibility of the product is of little to no concern.

Interestingly, as to costs, the study also found that more expensive green products may actually “increase the desirability” of those products because they are once again viewed as a status symbol to display in front of others.

However, while these trends may be evident among some consumers, those in the jansan industry should note that such sentiments are not usually present in other settings.

“This may be true for the consumer market,” says Mike Sawchuk, vice president of Enviro-Solutions, a manufacturer of green cleaning products, and Charlotte Products, responding to the study.

“But I can say with confidence it is not true of today’s end-users. They want proven-green products that perform and are cost competitive. Status is not part of the equation.”

*University of Minnesota (2010, March 16). "People will forgo luxury for Green products when status is on mind, researcher finds." Study: How Does Indoor Air Quality Impact Student Health and Academic Performance?

The Case for Comprehensive IAQ Management in Schools

Click here to read


CIMS Certification

What Is CIMS Certification?
CIMS applies to management, operations, performance systems, and processes. Compliance with the Standard demonstrates an organization is structured to deliver consistent, quality services that are designed to meet the customer's needs and expectations. It sets forth processes, procedures, and supporting documentation proven to be characteristic of customer-driven organizations. CIMS is nonprescriptive and each individual organization has the flexibility to choose the most effective ways in which to meet its requirements.

The Standard is divided into six areas of management best practices:

  • Quality systems Service delivery
  • Human resources
  • Health, safety, and environmental stewardship
  • Management commitment
  • Green Building (GB)

CIMS applies to an organization in its entirety, rather than to a specific individual, process or product, and without respect to the size of the organization. Click here to find out how certification applies to multiple-location service organizations.

Saving Money
Ultimately, the CIMS program is all about saving money. By implementing an effective management framework and green cleaning program, organizations are positioned to improve operational efficiency and better serve their customers, which naturally leads to cost savings. Click here to learn how one CIMS-certified organization has enjoyed more than US$400,000 in annual savings as a result of their certification efforts.

How to Get CIMS Certified
To achieve CIMS certification, a facility service provider organization must submit written documentation supporting their compliance with the requirements described in the five key sections of the Standard. To achieve certification, an organization must meet 100 percent of the mandatory elements and 60 percent of the recommended elements, per section.

An ISSA-accredited third party assessor then conducts an on-site review of the applicant’s systems, processes and documentation to ensure compliance, as well as visit individual customer accounts or locations to ensure that the organization’s activities are consistent with the documented systems and processes. Click here for a detailed overview of the CIMS certification process.

Click here to find out more about the fees for CIMS certification.

Why Should My Organization Pursue CIMS Certification?

 In general, CIMS Certification should lead to improved efficiency, greater customer satisfaction, and an overall better quality of service regardless of whether your organization performs cleaning in-house or is a building service contractor.

Building Service Contractors: CIMS presents a terrific opportunity for a building service contractor to validate its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Only a CIMS-certified organization can say that an independent third party has actually performed an assessment of their systems, processes, and policies and agreed that they have instituted the management framework required by CIMS and demanded by those individuals responsible for selecting a cleaning service provider. 

CIMS has received an official endorsement from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), who has recognized the program as a powerful tool their members can use to pre-qualify contractors. As a result, more and more facility managers, purchasing professionals and others are citing CIMS in their requests for proposal and cleaning specifications, including the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, State Farm Insurance, and others who have made the decision that only CIMS certified organizations are eligible to be awarded a cleaning service contract.

In-House Service Providers: As the industry continues to undergo a shift in focus from "cleaning for appearance" to "cleaning for health," cleaning is becoming recognized as a primary weapon in the fight against emerging public health threats. Simply stated, an in-house organization cannot afford to take a chance when it comes to cleanliness and good santitation!

By complying with the cornerstone elements of CIMS, an in-house cleaning department will be uniquely prepared to improve the efficiency of its services, advance the organizational master plan, achieve budgetary support in the board room, and improve the overall performance of their cleaning service. And because CIMS is a management framework that is based on universally-accepted management principles, the Standard sets forth a sustainable business model that can apply to other services with only slight adjustments.

Created By the Industry, For the Industry
The Standard was created through a true consensus-based process that brought together representatives of the cleaning, facilities management, and purchasing communities. In total, more than 100,000 constituents were represented in the process, which included full peer review, and was administered by ISSA and the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS).

Application, Certification and Assessment Fees
All fees are in U.S. dollars:

  • Application Fee:  $500
  • Certification Fee: $995 (ISSA Member), $1,695 (Non-ISSA Member)
  • Assessment Fees: $1,500 per assessment day*

*The length of an assessment depends on the size and scope of the organization.

Applicants will also be responsible for reasonable assessor expenses. Click here for a copy of the CIMS Fee Payment Policy.