Green Cleaning Certifications and Standards

Are you keeping up with the latest industry developments? Learn more about the two main green cleaning certifications, CIMS and LEED.

The continued trend of being environmentally friendly and environmentally conscious can and does affect a multitude of industries. I would argue that outside of energy, the industry most affected by the green movement is the janitorial and facility management industry.

As a way for various organizations to ensure that the building service contractors they employ are up to snuff when it comes to being green, there are standards and certifications available to anyone in the janitorial industry looking to prove that they are environmentally friendly in how they do business.

There are a host of available green cleaning certifications and standards out there, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll speak mainly about CIMS and LEED certifications.


The ISSA-led Cleaning Industry Management Standard — or CIMS, if you prefer — is designed to provide a series of best practices that, if followed, proves that the certified organization is one that is not only environmentally conscious, but also has solid management practices used by the “best in the biz.”

According to ISSA:

“CIMS applies to management, operations, performance systems, and processes. Compliance with the Standard demonstrates an organization is structured to deliver consistent, quality services that are designed to meet the customer’s needs and expectations. It sets forth processes, procedures, and supporting documentation proven to be characteristic of customer-driven organizations.”

There are six main facets of CIMS: quality systems, service delivery, human resources, management commitment, health/safety/environmental stewardship and green building. The green building aspect of CIMS is more important now than ever, as CIMS-GB has been created specifically to focus on helping its members attain LEED certification.


Speaking of LEED, the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification program is recognized as “the premier mark of achievement in green building.” However, LEED is more than just about having healthy management practices. Each type of business looking to be LEED-certified must apply and pass a “rating system” that indicates whether that company is doing enough to be considered environmentally friendly and fits the bill of “green cleaning.”

It’s not that you should apply for a “green cleaning” standard or certification just because it opens up more doors, revenue-wise, but because there are also many other benefits for both property manager and building service contractor.

I’ll close this post with a great example of the return on investment gained by being environmentally conscious:

“LEED-certified buildings cost less to operate, reducing energy and water bills by as much as 40%. Businesses and organizations across the globe use LEED to increase the efficiency of their buildings, freeing up valuable resources that can be used to create new jobs, attract and retain top talent, expand operations and invest in emerging technologies.”

The return on investment is clear for property managers, but how will this affect building service contractors? Simple: LEED certification is increasingly common among properties, especially larger facilities. A building service contractor who can prove that their organization is founded upon environmentally sound principles and processes is one who will find more success in obtaining and keeping that client.


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