You are on page 1of 4

The concept is not something new in Malaysia only.” opines Datuk Radzali Hassan.7 million in 2003 to US$64. As suggested by Frost & Sullivan. When you use the wrong cleaning chemicals. many independent green cleaning companies are now competing directly with IFM companies. the green cleaning industry in Malaysia does not have a long legacy. opines Frost & Sullivan. window cleaning. T Datuk Radzali: “It will make a great difference as to where the building’s maintenance is concern if cleaning and hygiene services would be the first thing on the building owners mind”. This means the facility must be intended to be a green building right from the start. services from these independent providers may vary from quality. from design. it will take time for awareness to grow. Many upcoming business developments are now based on these concepts. In fact. materials. Through their offering of green solutions. While there isn’t a true market indication for the green cleaning industry. and water and waste sector. external wall cleaning. green cleaning does not only encompass all janitorial activities. water or materials. in addition to the long-term effect to the environment. there were little to no competition for Harta in the sector. which oversees the country’s green rating tool for buildings and towns (Green Building Index or GBI). but throughout the world. maintenance to its removal. operation. namely cleaning. In fact. among others. Mandy Au.5 million in 2008. as decreed under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA).COVER STORY By Nur Atifi of course. we are confident the values will continue in its upward trajectory. through its Economic Transformation Programme. According to the GreenBuildingIndex Sdn Bhd. Frost & Sullivan. and extensiveness of green elements. the government is encouraging the adoption of green technologies. Harta Maintenance Sdn Bhd (Harta) offers the market its credential for being a pioneer in both traditional and green cleaning services in Malaysia. Radzali clarifies: “At that time. and maintenance). They are labelled as biodegradable products. Nonetheless. Green cleaning chemicals are now certified by independent and voluntary organisations.” September 2012 Business Today 31 Sweeping under the carpet is not their style. Harta partnered with producers of environmentally-friendly products from the United States and United Kingdom. including property sectors. Green Up he words ‘Green’ and ‘Sustainability’ are no strangers in today’s business environment. in addition to the material & equipment (M&E) and environmental services. “Green cleaning products for the consumer market quadrupled in sales from US$17. where environmentallyfriendly ingredients in cleaning products are preferred as opposed to others that perform similar functions. This includes all products used. The US-based Air Quality Sciences Inc notes in its ‘Green Cleaning for Health’ updated report in 30 Business Today September 2012 . however the perception is slowly changing now. According to Frost & Sullivan. Greener Pastures Frost & Sullivan says should green cleaning be adopted 100-percent in all green buildings. who is a strong advocate in green cleaning. there is obviously a need for Green Cleaning for the build industry.” Establishments such as hospitals need more than just air quality to ensure the safety of its occupants. many tend to overlook the maintenance aspect of the building. construction. 2011. the green cleaning players champion the cause amidst all issues and drawbacks. Radzali says: “As our workers were multiplying. Green for Clean The concept of green cleaning is not something new globally. the concept of green cleaning to be spreading like wildfire in the past decade. people can be ignorant and naïve about the usage of cleaning products. Group Managing Director of Harta. the workers are affected. and water minimisation equipment in buildings. Back in the early 1980s. It will make a great difference as to where the building’s maintenance is concern if cleaning and hygiene services would be the first thing on the building owners mind. Moreover. a green building focuses on increasing the efficiency of resources used. green cleaning includes hard cleaning. The first element that comes to mind in making a building greener or sustainable is. they were not called green products. the green concept will in turn inspire myriad of sectors falling under this particular segment. it has a potential to contribute up to 30-percent of the index scores. where conserving the environment may come part and parcel with one’s value proposition. which involves the use of cleaning methods and products with environmentally-friendly ingredients. such as chemicals and materials. carpet cleaning. a project officer under the GBI. By 2013. While it is one of the considerations in conserving the environment. machinery cleaning. “Back in those days. It also reduces the impact it has on human health and the environment throughout its lifecycle. Many of us may begin to wonder on how green cleaning can differ from the traditional cleaning. as cleaning was seen as a ‘sweep-and-mop’ job at that time. the anticipated key focus areas around the environmental and building technologies markets are centred on green buildings (design. energy efficiency. Many organisations are beginning to realise the impact a building can have towards the environment. it takes into consideration the processes as well.” it says. the priority was to ensure the safety of our workforce. compared with just 3-percent in 2008 (Ebenkamp 2009). dry foam cleaning. Based on the upward growth of the adoption of green solutions worldwide. Among the primary concern in traditional cleaning is the use of harmful chemicals in its cleaning activities. Going head on. the IFM market itself is evolving into Green IFM (GIFM). We have to make sure the right products. the Malaysian government is fostering a wide range of small to medium businesses in the country to delve into the development of green technology. the idea behind the concept has long been discussed by various industries.” reveals global growth consulting firm. Moving the spotlight towards the Business Services NKEA. Unlike its western counterparts. Other market data and projections are more ambitious. are used. It was only done when needed. there are those taking this upon their shoulders to advocate green cleaning as the way to go. and waste disposal. Commenting on the green trends. efficient water treatment and supply. Clean Up. In this respect. For one. designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. procedures and initiatives designed to protect the health of occupants without harming the environment. It is also said the component of green cleaning.” Harta’s shift to using such products resonates well with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of green cleaning. construction. these green cleaning solutions do the job just as well. Frost & Sullivan believes green cleaning is becoming an integral part of the Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) market. be it energy. Though the “green” movement became popular over the last decade. (However). the magnitude of the need for green cleaning products can provide an inkling to the potential this industry has. anticipated sales of green cleaners will grow to US$623 million and account for 30-percent of the household cleaners market. More often than not. By 1985. We can’t afford to have our workers face with hazardous products. “As Malaysia is finalising its roadmap for green technology. “The mindset of most Malaysians used to be different when it comes to cleaning. is an important service provision by IFM and GIFM providers. says: “As a holistic approach. trainings. the construction of green buildings is picking up throughout Malaysia. new waste treatment options and management.

It adds there should be other entities for green products certification. however. • MR4 on Sustainable Purchasing Policy covers green cleaning product purchases. This technology eliminates or uses minimal chemicals to do cleaning and kill bacteria. “We are now using steam technology for general cleaning that gives 32 Business Today September 2012 Like many specialised industries. Harta is also replacing the many traditional cleaning technologies and equipment. and they include:   • SM2 on Building Exterior Management stipulates the use of environmentally non-polluting methods and chemicals for cleaning of building exterior including maintenance equipment. and therefore.” shares Melvin Leong. As mentioned. but the uptake of green cleaning is somewhat lethargic. Green Dr. it will not be clean. otherwise we will be fined heavily.” According to Leong. the common perception of many is if you were to clean without any chemicals.” In unison Radzali adds: “Of course. “In government hospitals. Leong adds: “There must be a more apparent regulation from GBI that make green cleaning compulsory. where such service is not just limited to using environmentallyfriendly products. Chackrapani. If you use good chemicals. Mould Prevention (EQ5). is trying to push the industry to pursue the “hygienicallyclean” standard. let’s say if the detergent used to clean does not foam. Despite the many criteria highlighted by the GBI in relations to green cleaning. like our EcoForce products. There was no formal indication or institution that could provide us with information about green. Complementing its eco-label chemicals. minimise harmful chemical use etc. “Many tend to believe without the use of chemicals. “The government should be leading the way. but we believe it is higher in urban areas. which mostly concentrates on the quality of the air. In fact. Nonetheless.COVER STORY saving up to 90% of water used. but it still provides efficiency in the usage. Though Radzali agrees the overall atmosphere can affect the whole environment in a building.” Hygiene Matters Too GBI framework breakdown Source: GBI While GBI’s policies are seen to focus on the air quality when it comes to green cleaning. Chackrapani strongly believes government agencies need to highlight green cleaning in their policies. for example. which are not harmful to the environment and the people around it. Despite the claims made about the lack of policies in the GBI by industry quarters. this is in line with Frost & Sullivan’s growth observation of September 2012 Business Today 33 . Dr. “It was an educational process for us as well at that time. We try our best to use products that are better for the environment. which feature an all-encompassing policy for the industry. green cleaning is a blessing in disguise for the healthcare sector. Awareness by green building owners and government end-users exist. Research Manager. to provide guidelines. Au brings to attention some of the key requirements related to green cleaning in the GBI. Shares Radzali: “We are now moving towards using dry method system. Green cleaning is just generally highlighted in the Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) requirement for the rating tool.” she adds. Leong opines there must be a more apparent regulation from the green building rating organisation. Frost & Sullivan. and other regulatory bodies can look into as green cleaning is definitely the next step forward in the cleaning industry – a trend moving in line with Malaysia’s own aspirations of becoming a green economy. Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA). Formal guidelines are blurred. Chackrapani feel more can be done. but the reach to the general public is low due to its business model. as well as its enforcement. especially when there is no specific standard or regulations set for green cleaning providers to follow. if any. • SM3 on Integrated Pest Management. he share establishments such as hospitals need more than just air quality to ensure the safety of its occupants. I believe it should be quality over quantity. In line with Au’s views of the industry’s awareness. This is common. end-users may have their own perception of green. as well as clarity about green cleaning services and its benefits. We are sure this is something the Energy. Chackrapani. “There is no requirement specifically highlighting green cleaning in the GBI. there are various issues and challenges to address from all fronts. Harta is now championing the green cleaning industry in Malaysia. due to the fact they are among the first users and advocates of the green building concept in Malaysia. “Awareness in general public and consumers are somewhat low. should green cleaning be adopted 100-percent in all green buildings. chemicals. such as the British Institute of Cleaning Science and ISSA (The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association). Erosion Control & Landscape Management relates to employing environmentally sensitive management to preserve the site’s natural components. paint and sealants. whereby no water is used to clean the carpet. “But slowly there were institutions established in the UK and US. Asia Pacific. the results are the same (if not better). You don’t need to use a lot. S Chackrapani Pillay of the Malaysian Environment Cleaning Sciences Sdn Bhd (MECSc) believes this misconception must change. Companies such as Amway and Cosway (direct selling companies) provide green cleaning products. 2011 need to highlight green Frost & Sullivan also reveals the lack of clear certification avenues for green cleaning products in Malaysia. Dr. Harta moved away from petroleum by-product and used products that are holistically safe.”  Under the Non-Residential Existing Building (NREB) and Industrial Existing Building (IEB) rating tools. Frost & Sullivan concurs on the lack of such consciousness.” says Radzali. “This is simply not true. Both Radzali and Dr.” shares Dr. it has a potential to contribute up to 30-percent of the index scores. thus making green cleaning compulsory.” instead environmentally-safe chemical are used. through its constant research and development efforts to fulfil its green cleaning business model. Take cleaning a carpet. Harta’s Radzali reiterates there is also no green cleaning standards set by governing bodies. there will be processes requiring chemicals. we need to use only chemicals approved by the Ministry of Health. Chackrapani strongly believes government agencies Green Buildings Market: Percentage of Carbon Emitted by Sector. green cleaning services are most welcome to minimise the spread of these harmful microbes from one section to another without the use of harmful chemicals. Environmental & Building Technologies. as well as its enforcement. Indoor Air Quality before and during occupancy (EQ14) and Advanced Air Filtration (IN1). Due to the nature of a hospital being a melting pot of bacteria and germs. Thus. with the closest being SIRIM.  “Green Cleaning is also covered (directly or indirectly) for both New and Existing buildings under the relevant criteria such as Indoor Air Pollutants (EQ4). for green cleaning are specifically outlined and covered under the existing building category. “Thus. However. Au stresses it is not true: “…requirements Leong: “There must be a more apparent regulation from GBI that make green cleaning compulsory” cleaning is not getting enough attention when compared to energy efficiency and water usage minimisation in a building. it is therefore not as clean. independent bodies such as the GBI are placing green cleaning standards in its requirements for green buildings.” shares Leong.” cleaning in their policies. it is immediately written off as not effective. Another innovative cleaning method is through steam vapour virtually no use of chemical. or there is no one standard format definition on green cleaning.” he adds. Asia-Pacific. Harta is moving in the right direction. the head of Harta. The task was a tedious and heavily water reliant but with innovation.” shares Dr.” The Green Standard Cleaning Awareness Innovation in Cleaning With that.” shares Radzali.