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How do we navigate a sustainable future?

Paul at PestEx

As a leader in sustainability practices and winner of many awards, Cleankill Pest Control Managing Director Paul Bates was asked to give a talk at PestEx – the national conference for the pest control industry.

Here he offers some thoughts from the talk on this important topic. 

Is sustainability just today’s ‘in phrase’ and the government’s flavour of the day? For me personally, sustainability is about what you believe is right and doing your research as best as you can.

Sustainability is about reducing environmental impact, improving the reputation of your company and your profession and, ideally, producing more profit.

A common statement about sustainability is: “it is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations – our children and their children – to meet their own needs.”  So…how do we navigate a more sustainable future?

That phrase, Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is something that no business can ignore - whatever size. Your customers, potential customers and, very importantly, your potential employees will all be interested in CSR, or should be.  For Cleankill, one aspect of CSR is working with charities and the local community. We donate and help where we can, whether it’s to Seaford Rugby Club or Riddlesdown Tennis Club, or sponsoring a festive tree to raise money for a hospice, these activities all help to establish our business as sustainable and caring while generating positive PR.

Looking after your staff

In reality, the more socially sustainable we become – the more we become economically viable as a business. Social sustainability also means looking after your staff, for instance paying them fairly, giving access to good benefits and flexible when you can. You cannot run a successful business with unhappy staff and you should not generate profit at any cost. Treating staff well means they will stay which, in turn, will produce profit - which equals sustainability.

Diversity and inclusion are important for becoming economically sustainable. While our admin team is female, our operational workforce used to be mostly white male. This is changing with more female pest controllers and our first Chinese employee on the team. They give a different perspective, bring new ideas and make Cleankill a more interesting place to work.

To be a sustainable business you need to employ quality staff and make a profit. The Investor in People framework has helped Cleankill by looking at every aspect of our staff, from induction to training, benefits to promotion. We’ve now achieved Gold accreditation for the third time. 

If you believe you are doing things right, take the time to tell people.  Enter as many awards as possible – they make you look at different aspects of your business. If you win, then you can talk about it and you will be seen by potential clients as a professional company. If you lose, look at the people that have won – what are they doing that you aren’t? 

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