Adrienne Doolan, CEO of Green Touches Ecological Cleaning Services gave a presentation at the Green Career Day on July 20th, 2016 organised by Green Emirates. She said that “today was an important day to be among the future leaders in sustainability. Choosing a career in sustainability is a positive step towards understanding the needs of our planet and the fact that we have to move with urgency to correct the path we have been travelling along. Each day there is growing conviction that the only way to continue in this world is to follow a green economy and to work towards achieving sustainability effectively. More jobs are being created within the Clean Technology field and this day is considered to be one of the most important days to put us on the path to achieving sustainability by you choosing jobs in the ever growing Clean Technology industry”.
Presenting alongside distinguished colleagues from the Clean Technology Industry such as solar panel companies, waste management facilities, recycling, sustainability and green cleaning.
She further went on the discuss “What does a green job mean”?
A green job is a decision to join an industry that is trying to achieve radical change in our society in order to achieve a sustainable future for all. By radical we mean ‘radical’ as we need to be cognisant of the changes necessary in order to protect our planet.
What is a career in green cleaning? No matter what space we are cleaning, making it more sustainable is primarily our objective and using fewer resources, fewer materials less energy expenditure, reduced water and doing it in a way which is safe for the environment and those performing the job.
So a career in the green cleaning industry may not sound all that glamourous to you and has a poor image in the eyes of the world at large, but the industry employs roughly 4.5 million people worldwide and is worth well in excess of Euro 68.9 billion and growing. The professional cleaning sector plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing. The industry carries out outstanding work and demonstrates the principles of sustainability.
Career opportunities within the green cleaning industry: The industry now employs environmental engineers, bio-chemists, clean technology designers, green and sustainable training and educational positions. And if you are looking for fancy titles they are also available, the previous position of Purchasing Manager has now become Director of Sustainable Materials! But as we know it is not about fancy titles, it’s about our conscious decision to bring change and to achieve our goals for our environment for future generations.
She advised those entering the Clean Technology industry to be leaders, with the new education skills to be imparted, to be involved with companies who are making significant changes towards our environment and recognise the companies that are dedicated to working to achieve sustainability.
The value of the green cleaning industry
Proving the financial benefits of being in the green industry, she pointed to data from MEFMA (Middle East Facilities Management Association) the hygiene industry is set to grow by a staggering 275% by the year 2020. Over the next 15 years it is expected that over 160,000 ‘green jobs’ will be created in the UAE.
(Source: Dubai Supreme Council of Energy DSCE).The cleaning and hygiene companies have the potential to grow tremendously.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
“It is the issue of sustainability, where the biggest gains are likely to be made in the future. Cleaning is not just a sustainable industry – it is the industry of sustainability. It is a sector with wider social and human benefits far beyond the employer-employee relationship. Cleanliness and hygiene help everyone to improve their sustainability”.
(Source: WFBSC – World Federation of Building Service Contractors – Vienna, Austria).
“Entering the field of clean technology gives the opportunity to generate civic pride and to instil a culture of positive behaviour and social responsibility. Green Touches seeks to create awareness as to the dangers of chemicals both on health and the environment, for personal and general cleaning.
She said, “I believe that green cleaning is the door to sustainability. With respect to my colleagues here today speaking about solar, waste management facilities, recycling etc, governments can provide all these facilitates and provide all the solar panels, recycling programmes etc, but I believe that the green cleaning industry is a core element in creating an awareness that will lead people to assume social responsibility towards their environment.
Once this awareness has been created within daily life this will engender civic responsibility and will in turn support the larger sustainability facilities provided.
Studies have shown that peoples relationship to the environment improves when their surroundings reflect cleanliness”.
How green cleaning supports sustainability:
1. Health & Safety
• Lowers “sick building syndrome” by 20% – 50%
• Allergy & asthma symptoms drop from 8% – 25%
• Removes biological and other contaminants from the building’s interior
• Reduces VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
• Reduces exposure to toxic chemicals
• Reduce water and ambient air pollution.
• Social responsibility
• Promotes civic pride
• Reduced running costs
• Provides a healthier workplace i.e. increased productivity
• Low building maintenance
Talking about Financial benefits: “The average desk harbors 10,000,000 (10 million) germs, more than 80% are transmitted by contact. Respiratory illnesses alone can cost as much as $134 per employee, medical care for illnesses resulting from poor indoor air quality can cost more than $1 billion annually. Enough convincing evidence to go green and eliminate toxins from our lives”. For any company Green cleaning is an investment in human health and the environment.
Women in Sustainability
Pointing out the positive role the United Arab Emirates takes in supporting women in society, she started with a quote from HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan:
“Nothing could delight me more than to see the woman taking up her distinctive position in society. Nothing should hinder her progress”.
The discussion for women in sustainability needs to first look at the social, economic and political aspects of the issue. We need to improve the lives of women in developing countries, who have no access to clean water, no access to electricity to cook for their families.
Quoting also from, Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, Director of Sustainability at Masdar. She believes that “women need to play a more active role in meeting the climate change and energy challenges of the future”.
Masdar launched WiSER, a UAE initiative for women in sustainability, environment and renewable energy.
Women hold 8% of management positions in Fortune 500 companies?
In clean technology and sustainability women hold 39% of leadership positions in sustainability?
“Women tend to take decisions based with the long term effect in mind. They are also more likely to suggest and build the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes within companies”. A career in sustainability is a natural role for women. We are nurturers and the earth needs nurturing”.
Ending with the words “Sustainability in our DNA”, She thanked Mr Ulysses Papadopoulos, Managing Partner of GreenEmirates & The Sustainability Business Network, and other clean technology industry speakers, Mr Mohamed Elmahdy, Executive Director at Green Touches, Mr Christian Steinberg, CSO of Solarpraxis, Mr Mohamed Sabet Chamie, Manager of bsi, Mr David Provenzani, Creator & MD at Dubai Solar Org and MEFMA, Ms Naima Benhamza, Managing Direcor of Elite Plus.