There are two key “green” standards that are regularly used by product manufacturers “Ecolabel” and “Cradle to Cradle” but how green are they and what do they really mean?

What is Ecolabel?

Ecolabel is a EU government backed labelling scheme primarily for food and consumer items, but is sometimes used for commercial products such as cleaning products. The Ecolabel is a voluntary accreditation available to show that a product meets the EU environmental government regulations.  Companies adopting this standard are either manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, or retailers”.  As an EU standard, with Brexit looming, Ecolabel could become less relevant in the UK?

In recent years, in addition to government schemes like Ecolabel there have been a number of “green” labels all attempting to create the impression that these products are 100% eco-friendly. However, there are significantly varying standards and requirements across these various marks.

How green is Ecolabel?

Industries are slowly becoming aware that environmental concerns must be taken seriously. The Ecolabel is a recognised symbol and this acts as a benefit for the products and manufactures. Yet, a product with the Ecolabel sticker doesn’t have to be 100% green but can have green “elements” or just one element. Typically, this is around the biodegradability of the chemicals and often whether the waste water contains surfactants. Once the Ecolabel is granted the applicant must keep their products up to date and ensue they are taking the responsibility promised on the packaging.

What is Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle takes a more holistic approach across the products life-cycle. It’s an independent standard and the ethos of the company is to offer 100% Eco-friendly cleaning products. It aims to ensure an “optimistic agenda for the continuous support around social issues, environmental and economic concerns”. The Cradle to Cradle standard has created five key categories used to highlight all green commercial elements.

Cradle to Cradle Categories

  1. Material Health – Recyclable packaging
  2. Material Reutilization – Using only natural ingredients for the cleaning agents
  3. Renewable Energy and Carbon Management
  4. Water Stewardship -Using water responsibly protecting rivers and streams.
  5. Social Fairness – Exposure of people working with/coming into contact with the products

These five aspects are fundamental parts of the Cradle to Cradle standards and their total requirement ensures all products are carefully and completely considered. One of the most important things to remember is that going green often can save money.

We are committed to the issue of hygiene in the workplace and we make this an intrinsic part of our mission and values. We are a customer and employee centric organisation that prides itself in building a culture of innovation and excellence. It is embedded into our organisational DNA and drives our approach to build productive partnerships to our clients.

Over the past few months we have evolved our value proposition and have simply narrated the culture that we currently embrace and have embraced for the past 40 years.

We aim to inspire you to rethink traditional approaches to cleaning. We’re passionate about helping you improve standards, reduce costs and ensure compliance while being environmentally responsible. We have identified how we can help you and it is through these three processes:

  • Advise
  • Supply
  • Support

We have built structured and responsive teams around these core delivery principles, to ensure that our organisation has the flexibility to deliver superior customer experience.

We stand out from the crowd because we can Advise. Our knowledgeable ‘Insight Team’, provide expert advice to help you find new and improved ways of working. We aim to help you source better performing products and support you in your drive for improvement.

Our ‘Solutions’ and ‘Fulfilment’ Teams take pride in ensuring that our supply is highly personal and responsive, exceeding expectations. Quality and performance runs through our core at Arrow. We listen to our customer requirements to ensure we can meet your needs on a regular basis.

We provide unparalleled support through our dedicated ‘Simplicity’ and ‘Response’ teams, who make it their business to make your life easy. They take ownership of your question and support you until you find a resolution. We go above and beyond the call of duty and every member of our team is hardworking, trustworthy and friendly, ensuring you get exactly what you need, when you need it.

This is what we call the Arrow Way.

With our new story, we have relaunched our website and created a corporate image that reflects our customer centric culture. We hope you like it!



Find out more about how we can advise you




Part of being successful in the cleaning industry is staying on top of your occupation. Trade shows and conferences are imperative for your professional growth and development.  It’s not always possible to attend every single event but on the 14th -16th March 2017 London Excel will be holding the biggest cleaning show in the capital and you must attend. These events, are designed to bring together facilities managers, suppliers and buyers.

At Arrow County, it’s our duty to inspire cleaning professionals to help reconsider traditional methods and share better standards. We aim to support you in your sustainable working. The need to find better ways of doing things, is rapidly becoming critical and this is often driven by wanting success.

So, what are the benefits to attending this year’s cleaning show? Here are 5 reasons why you need to be there.

  1. Seminars

Attending industry events, ensure you get to hear some of the best speakers in the business. Learning from the experts is an excellent opportunity to grab a few new ideas. Bring a note pad and pen or if you’re technical, a digital device you can take notes on.

  1. Meet New People

Meeting people at events is an excellent way to grow your network. By meeting new suppliers and people in your industry you can learn better innovate ways of working. You may need some fresh ideas or a new method, these events, allow you to grow in ways you may have not been able to working alone.

  1. See Latest Equipment

At The London Cleaning Show new equipment will be on display. This is the perfect opportunity to try before you buy. Find out how the best industry tools work, discover new techniques and you may even get a discount on prices.

  1. Sign Up For More Information

You get a chance to sign up to the best content and industry information. You can create accounts, set up logins and get support if needed. The suppliers and teams are there to speak to you and can help you seek the advice and support you may need. You’ll receive free brochures, leaflets and flyers to help remind you on how to proceed in your requests.

  1. Get an Immediate Response

You can ask questions and get an immediate response. The experts will be available to talk to you and spend as much time as you need. This one to one personal approach is a great way to get to know the suppliers and is an excellent opportunity to build relationships.

 

At Arrow, we do things differently and provide not just exceptional personal customer support and service, but also an insight led approach to ensure we understand your specific needs and objectives.

We take our time to conduct:

  • Detailed investigations of current operations to help identify potential alternative ways of working or tooling. This helps in the delivery of agreed business objectives, such as hygiene improvement or reducing costs.

We work hard to ensure that:

  • We provide responsive and knowledgeable teams. They provide our high quality, dependable customer service and this approach means our customers come back time after time. Our knowledge and advice services are at the heart of everything we do to help our customers.

By harnessing our expertise, you can:

  • Rely on us to help you meet your objectives.

Following on from a very successful event in Manchester last year, we’re pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at The London Cleaning Show. Held on the 14th – 16th March 2017 at the Excel. The London Cleaning Show is the biggest event in the cleaning sector. With over 100 companies exhibiting the event includes a comprehensive seminar programme, and the CSSA Awards. You do not want to miss this occasion, especially if you’re involved in the cleaning and services industry.

We will be focusing on how we help you solve your problems through our new Advise, Supply, Support story, as well as demonstrating our product innovation abilities. Innovation is a huge aspect of what we can offer to our customers and we will have a dedicated area on our stand that will cater for all innovation questions you may have.

This year we’ll also be holding a competition for visitors to win an APPLE WATCH! This prize is inside a box and only the visitor with the correct code will be able to open it – fancy your chances? To enter our competition, register below. Make sure you don’t miss out and visit us at stand C23.

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If you’re still unsure or haven’t taken steps to becoming a greener organisation, you are missing out on some excellent opportunities. Going green is not just a trend, sustainability is important, and it makes uncompromising economic sense. In 2014, Tesco announced that it will reduce emissions from stores and distribution centres by half in 2020 and that it will become a zero-carbon enterprise altogether by 2050. Companies such as Tesco, are not committing to environmental goals out of the goodness of their hearts, the reason for their actions is a simple yet powerful realisation that the environmental and economic footprints are most often aligned. In 2007 M&S started a sustainability initiative that predicted over time would cost them £200m, however by 2012 it had saved them £105m.

Get started on a sustainable path with these 6 simple benefits.

1. Improve Your Brand Image

Why wait? Go green today. Boost your brands image, get noticed and become a recognised green conscious brand. It’s an excellent opportunity for PR and Social Media campaigns. The public and businesses like to connect with organisations who support green values. A sustainable brand gains attraction and helps increase usage and revenue.

2. Build A Community

Going green is an excellent opportunity to build a sense of community around your organisation. Go and get your locals involved, it’s a great way to attract customers to your establishment. Send out newsletters and e-mails to give your customers or visitors a chance to support your green inducements.

3. Safer Working

By using eco-friendly cleaning products, instead of frequently exposing your staff to chemical cleaning solutions, offers greater long term staff protection and shows them you care about them. Making a change to your cleaning chemical usage improves air quality and forms a safer working environment.

4. Increased Productivity

Living a healthier lifestyle increases your productivity, when your staff feel good they work harder and faster. Green products make people feel happier, and a sense of accomplishment is felt when doing something positive for the environment.

5. Be a Thought Leader

When your organisation decides to go green, you set a high standard for others to follow. Becoming sustainable is an excellent opportunity to take the lead. You can introduce new practices and get a head start on your competition. You can begin to separate yourself from others who are in the same industry as you. Thought leadership allows you to educate those in your industry, giving support when needed.

6. Make A Saving

Organisations are always battling with their budget constraints; however, an excellent money- saving tactic is using green cleaning and hygiene products. Green cleaning solutions last longer and make a positive difference to the environment. Going green is a smart strategy and many rewards are often reaped from making this choice.

By now you understand the economic benefits to green cleaning, but if you still need convincing, have a look at our guide to 7 Surprising Business Benefits of Adopting More Sustainable Cleaning Regimes.

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The role of a facilities manager is often rewarding. Though the hours are long and the constant maintenance and cleaning regimes are tough, it’s an important role in any organisation. Directing staff and overseeing the upkeep of cleaning supplies, is fundamental for success. However, whilst you may feel rushed off your feet, these top 5 tips will help you discover other important topics, relevant to the day job.

1.Using Social Media

As a facilities manager, instant communication acts as a benefit to you and your organisation. Social Media is an excellent way to receive feedback, connect with suppliers and research online reviews. Many social channels are a great way to communicate interesting insights to your teams. Maybe set up a Facebook page for your teams to share ideas?

2.Subscribe to Industry Blogs

Signing up to industry blogs is a good way to get advice and insights. If you have any questions or need some assistance, blogs are a free resource available at any time, from trusted advisors. Keep up with the latest trends in your industry and comment and share your own views and experiences.

3.Networking Across Your Organisation

Networking across all departments is useful when trying to understand your entire organisation. Consider how your job compliments others, and together you’ll make improvements. Attend industry networking events like cleaning shows, to help you find the best in the cleaning sector.

4.Download E-books & Guides

Why spend hours searching online? Download an e-book or a guide with all the information you need and save valuable time. Connect with a good supplier who understands what you do and has excellent insight resources on their website. Download them on your mobile phone and use them on the go.

5.Free Suppliers Assessments

Find a supplier that will give you a free assessment to help solve your organisations challenges. Make sure they are well established and well-regarded and offer a thorough and collaborative approach through an understanding of your organisations objectives, budgets, structures and facilities. Ensure they provide expert insight specialists who will remain with you throughout the process.

Download our Winter Maintenance Advice leaflet here

Many cleaning products present themselves as ecologically safe, selling in bulk to large organisations. However, not all products are as comprehensively eco-friendly as we are lead to believe.

Here at Arrow County, we want to show you what it truly means to go green and the benefits to your staff when you do.

Safe for the Environment and Safe for You?

Organisations use products labelled as eco-friendly sometimes unaware that these products possess some of the same harmful chemicals that are in non-eco-friendly products. Frequent usage, and exposure of such chemicals without personal protective equipment (PPE) can carry health risks over a long period.

True sustainability requires manufacturers to take into consideration the complete production cycle, as well as the products’ ingredients. By considering each stage of production carefully, producers can minimise negative impacts on the environment and risks to those coming into regular contact with these cleaning products.

A significant number of eco-friendly labelled cleaner solution producers, have not considered the impacts that their products have on human wellbeing any more than products not marketed as sustainable. However sincere eco-friendly products are not harmful and protect those using them frequently.

Additionally, over the years, green products have sometimes gained a misplaced understanding that “eco-friendly” means expensive, and less effective. These concepts have become difficult to dismiss making it challenging to buy into going eco-friendly.

So, Should You Go Green?

Certainly!

There are products that meet environmental standards to a high degree in a holistic sense. These products conform to higher industry green standards such as the “Cradle to Cradle” standard which is a great way to look out for genuine green and authentically sustainable products. These products do measure and reduce risks to staff exposure over the long term. Ultimately, going green can be cost appropriate and effective for your organisation.

Understanding the differences in varying eco-friendly standards is a must to making sure you protect the environment and your staff.

We will be highlighting these differences between these emerging industry standards in a future blog in a few weeks’ time.

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Is it possible to improve staff productivity, and decrease ongoing maintenance costs? Absolutely! With a significant amount of financial pressure impacting organisations, maintenance budgets are regularly being cut, putting pressure on staff and their productivity. Facilities and Operations Managers are often faced with tight maintenance budget constraints, leading to delays in small repairs which can increase costly labour activity in cleaning operations.

However here at Arrow County we want to share with you these 5 tips to help you improve staff productivity, by responding promptly to small maintenance needs.

  1. Take Care of Your Equipment

Ensure that your equipment is taken care of, using the right products to safeguard your tools will decrease your need for costly maintenance checks.

  1. Conduct Regular Evaluations and Set Incentives

Most organisations’ carry out frequent performance evaluations, however you can make yours more influential, by setting goals for reducing errors and increasing staff productivity. By providing incentives to employees, they become more inspired and are more likely to maintain the building in exchange for rewards.

  1. Understand Your Environment

It is crucial to know how many hours it takes to clean and support your building space. It is easy to underestimate, so getting the hours right will ensure the correct number of staff are deployed. For example, if you need two members of cleaning staff instead of one, this extra support will ensure the task is carried out properly reducing pressure and decreasing the need for maintenance.

  1. Train Your Employees

It is imperative that organisations train staff to use their products and equipment properly, this helps avoid errors and mistakes. These faults can cause expensive maintenance bills, and if staff are unsure, these mistakes can lead to increased maintenance jobs.

  1. Get Staff Involved

Get your staff involved, they work on the front line so it is vital they are on the same as page as you. Explain your desire to reduce maintenance costs and invite their input on better ways to do that. Involving staff members in decisions, help them feel more invested in the business and they will do all they can to be supportive.

Following these 5 simple steps will help you create a plan to ensure your staff are productive and your maintenance and cleaning operations costs are managed. Click below to download our FREE infographic.

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Public Contracts Regulations 2015 currently apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – these regulations state that any public procurement activities over a given value must be advertised in the European Union’s Official Journal (OJEU). This value is estimated based on the total amount payable, excluding VAT, but including any potential options or renewals as specified in the procurement documents. New financial thresholds have been confirmed by the European Commission which apply to public procurement from the 1st January 2016 until the end of 2017. These thresholds apply to all EU member states regardless of whether they have introduced the European legislation or not, including Scotland.

We’ve summarised the new threshold values in the table below, with the outdated thresholds in brackets.

Supply, services and
design contracts
Works contracts Social and other
specific services
Public Central Government £106,047 (£111,676) £4,104,394 (£4,322,012) £589,148 (N/A)
Other contracting authorities £164,176 (£172,514) £4,104,394 (£4,322,012) £589,148 (N/A)
Small lots £62,842 (£66,672) £785,530 (£833,400) N/A
Utility authorities £328,352 (£345,028) £4,104,394 (£4,322,012) £785,530 (N/A)
Defence and security authorities £328,352 (£345,028) £4,104,394 (£4,322,012) £785,530 (N/A)

Although the threshold values have risen when calculated in Euros, conversion rates actually result in a reduction in threshold value when the contract value is estimated in Sterling. European procurement directives must be designed to comply with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The GPA defines these financial thresholds in a specialised type of asset established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR), rather than in Euros. The value of the SDR varies over time and is dependent on the relative values of a number of major global currencies including the Euro and Sterling.

This means that UK contracts valued close to the threshold level are much more likely to require publication in the OJEU when calculated in Sterling, so both suppliers and buyers in the UK can expect more competition from European organisations. Your organisation needs to be aware of these changes and the possible impact they may have on your future procurement strategy.

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It makes good business sense to consider your customer’s opinions; you are likely to centre your promotional materials, social media and website design around your client’s preferences and personas, and your cleaning regimes should be focused in the same way.

  1. First impressions are key

The first impression that your organisation gives to customers or clients is of the upmost importance. It is difficult to recover from a poor first impression and cleanliness is a vital part of making an environment appear attractive and welcoming. Make sure your display windows and entrance areas are kept spotless at all times to ensure every person who walks through your door is impressed with your facilities.

  1. Focus your attention

There are certain areas which clients and customers will naturally focus on when assessing the cleanliness of your building, including kitchens and bathrooms. Interestingly, specific surface types are also perceived differently; for example, it is easier to determine that a hard floor surface is clean when compared to a thick carpet.

  1. Smell matters

Odours are one the key ways in which people judge the cleanliness of public spaces. Studies have shown people readily associate particular scents, like pine for example, with sanitation. At the same time, heavily scented cleaning products can be perceived as off-putting and overbearing. Strike the right balance by keeping the rooms of your building well ventilated where possible, and choosing a range of cleaning products with an appealing odour.

  1. Seeing is believing

Surfaces will only look clean if they are clean. In fact, 63% of people would rather eat in a restaurant with an open kitchen in order to judge the cleanliness levels. Make the most of large and pale or transparent surfaces in your building. Where dark colours and heavy prints can easily mask stains and grime, dirty streaks and marks are obvious and easily identifiable on windows or white walls. These types of surfaces can therefore be difficult to maintain properly throughout the day, so take the time to plan your cleaning tasks carefully and efficiently.

  1. The cost of clutter

It can be difficult to distinguish between untidiness and dirtiness, with cluttered rooms and messy areas like storage cupboards and kitchens easily giving an impression of a dirty environment. Make sure your buildings are kept tidy – use stylish storage units to keep areas that are prone to clutter free of unnecessary mess and empty bins on a regular basis.

Keep these useful tips in mind when assessing your cleaning regimes and prioritising maintenance tasks, to impress your clients and create an environment that emphasises the values of your organisation.

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