Swish Maintenance is not only a leading distributor and manufacturer in the sanitation supply industry, but a “pioneer” in developing and launching certified environmentally responsible cleaning products. In 1992, the Canadian Sanitation Supply Association awarded Swish Maintenance its first Environmental Citizen Award in recognition of the company’s early accomplishments.
“In addition to making healthier and safer products, using environmentally responsible packaging also has been a priority since the 1980’s and, today, virtually all of our products have recyclable packaging,” says Jim Flieler, Executive Director of Marketing. “Similarly, we source vendor partners who offer resource efficient products and equipment that complement our offering.
“For many years, we have been able to offer our customers ‘sustainable value’ based on having independent scientific data to support our assertion that the products formulated, packaged and sold by Swish Maintenance are truly environmentally responsible while still being able to meet high performance standards” says Flieler.
Today, Swish Maintenance has an extensive offering of certified green cleaning products under the Enviro-Solutions and Swish Clean & Green brands that includes cleaning solutions, garbage bags and paper products. These products are certified as environmentally preferable under Canada’s Environmental Choice Program (EcoLogo) and the United States’ Green Seal Program, provided by manufacturers and vendor partners that are committed to sustainability and high quality standards. These valued supply chain partners are critical in assisting Swish Maintenance to meet its sustainability goals.
Flieler’s pride in Swish is unmistakable and he is eager to share the products’ effectiveness with anyone and everyone. “We will never green-wash. If anyone challenges us at any time we have the support and extensive documentation that proves our efforts are certainly sincere and certified as such.”
Competitive edge and company goals
Swish Maintenance believes that its commitment to sustainable development is critical to achieving its goal of maintaining and further expanding its position as a distribution and sales leader in the janitorial and sanitation industry.
Swish Maintenance work with its employees, business and community partners toward long-term economic, social and environmental well-being through continuous improvement.
The “Three Pillars of Sustainability”—the economic, social and environmental factors—grow from its commitment to sustainable development and use these pillars to evaluate its business activities on an ongoing basis. In turn, its products and services create “sustainable value” that the company can offer to its customers. The result also helps its customers, as well as clients, meet their sustainability goals while Swish continues to strengthen its leadership position. A few examples of what Swish provides to support customer sustainability objectives include certified cleaning solution products, as well disinfectants, that are healthier and safer for custodial staff, including: equipment that uses less power, less water and less cleaner; paper products that are made from 100 per cent recycled fibres to reduce the impact on forest resources and habitats; chemical solutions and concentrates that use less water and dilution control systems that avoid excess waste of product; entrance matting that contains 100 per cent post-consumer recycled PET fibre reclaimed from plastic bottles; ice melter that will not harm plants or animals; and training support and expert advice to customers establishing sustainable green cleaning programs.
Flieler proudly adds, “We have also developed our leading edge in the marketplace by investing in our organization’s most valuable resource—our employees. Their commitment to customer service and dedication to excellence in performing their responsibilities has made Swish Maintenance a successful business and we are proud to have retained many long service employees.”
The Swish business model has an impressive roster, having launched over 20 certified environmentally responsible chemicals in 2010 for a total of 75 products that are ECP (Ecologo) certified and 11 products that are Green Seal certified.
In 2008, energy efficient lighting retrofits were done within Swish’s operations to reduce energy resources and costs and in, 2009-10, energy audits of its three largest Canadian facilities were completed. Based on energy audit recommendations, a solar wall was installed in December 2010 to reduce the energy required for space heating within its largest site. In addition, high efficiency boilers and air tightness improvements to pedestrian and dock doors will be completed in March.
E-learning@Swish, Swish Maintenance’s new e-learning site, was launched in 2010 to provide multimedia training for both customers and employees related custodial cleaning best practices and other topics that are important within its industry. This initiative supports sustainable development by allowing Swish to reduce training resources (i.e., paper materials, business travel to deliver/attend courses, etc.) while developing the knowledge and skills of both customers and employees.
Swish Maintenance is also committed to supporting various external initiatives aimed at improving health, education, environment and local communities in which it does business. An example of this is that it continues to contribute to environmental research programs that take place in Ontario Parks for over 10 years, in addition to sponsoring Earth Day events and educational scholarships.
For many years, Swish Maintenance has operated an internally designed program called “Do It Right the First Time” (DIRFT) to measure accuracy and performance throughout the organization. Swish Maintenance first became ISO certified in 1992 and this resulted in further improvements and consistency in policies, procedures and practices throughout their operations.