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Green Business; Is It Trainable, Is It Viable?

May 1, 2017

As the world continues to debate whether or not climate change is a reality, businesses throughout South Africa are weighing up the pros and cons of “going green”. While some use eco status as a badge to promote a good image, others are intent on actually making a difference in the way they impact the environment.

In the construction industry, for example, many companies are focussing on green building, ensuring that materials used are environmentally friendly and that the buildings are designed to promote natural airflow, less electricity usage and increased incorporation of greenery. The question is, what happens after these buildings are occupied? Are green principles maintained by those that use the space? Are green cleaning methods used, is printing limited, is pollution thwarted? If not – can the building still be called green?

The key to achieving “going green” is training (educate people how to be more green) and viability (is it affordable for companies to choose a less harmful path?). According to Shawn Andrews, Managing Director of BanoBrite, companies are still sceptical about the green movement. “We developed a ‘green challenge’ and approached a number of lodges and hotels, challenging them to change their cleaning footprint to a completely green solution,” confirms Andrews. “We were met with much scepticism, from price concerns to indifferent attitudes.”

With a little persistence, Andrews found a business that was ready to take up the challenge; Valley Lodge and Spa in Magaliesburg. “Being a green hotel, for example, means more than not washing towels daily. Valley Lodge took up the task of greening the business, and began the process of converting the entire establishment from chemicals to green cleaning. It will be the first lodge in South Africa to adopt a 100 percent green cleaning policy,” beams Andrews.

BanoBrite, which sources its bio-enzymes from local manufacturer, Green Worx Cleaning Solutions, confirms that, with acceptance change can begin. The first step in revolutionising the cleaning process was to determine the number of products used in each department (laundry, kitchen and housekeeping) and where they would be replaced with the BanoBrite/Green Worx range of products.

“To ensure a smooth change over in each department, it was decided to convert each department individually. This meant that adequate training given, and that the integrity of the green methodologies was maintained,” confirms Andrews.

According to Rosina Banda, HOD; Laundry at Valley Lodge, and Tholiwe Khanye, Room Division Manager; “The results have been phenomenal, the laundry has come out cleaner, and stains have been removed in the first wash. Towels appear to be fluffier and get softer with each cycle of washing. You would think we bought new linen.”

In response to cost concerns, Andrews confirms that product usage was reduced by 30 percent in the first two weeks of the change. In addition, one all-purpose cleaner replaced up to four chemical cleaning products, making it even more cost effective. The kitchen is now more sanitary, with the use of non-toxic cleaning products, and the sewage plant was treated with a sewage activator, which eliminated the waste and chemical build up that had been exacerbated over time.

“Valley lodge is now 100 percent green; no chemicals are being used on the property, their costs have decreased by 40 percent, and continue to drop,” concludes Andrews. “This is the example that all businesses aspiring to go green should follow – start where you can; and then go all in!”

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Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd