A passion for sustainability has been key to his cleaning company’s success, says David Rosenstein, founder and president of Intex Solutions. Over the last 40 years, the Montebello, CA-based business has grown to become one of the nation’s largest specialty commercial carpet and textile cleaning companies. Rosenstein’s success gives him compelling evidence to point out when spreading the gospel of sustainability in meetings with salespeople, community members and policy makers.
It wasn’t always so. “Twenty years ago, people laughed and rolled their eyes at our environmental standards and safer chemicals,” Rosenstein says. “But 10 years later, these values have become an integral part of the conversation. Now, people ask us about our sustainability early in sales meetings because it’s important to them. That’s really exciting, and we’re proud that we have always been a pioneer in triple-bottom-line values.”
Intex Solutions’ commercial cleaning service uses chemicals that prolong the life of carpets and textiles and are safe for people – both those doing the cleaning and those who work in the buildings the company cleans. The company not only uses electric and hybrid vehicles, it even offsets the emissions generated by the electricity it uses in clients’ buildings by donating to the Carbon Fund. It’s an extraordinary level of sustainability, but Rosenstein believes living out corporate responsibility is more than a distinctive sales message and more than an important part of the firm’s cleaning service. It’s good for the company’s bottom line in other ways.
Intex Solutions saves energy costs with solar panels at its headquarters. It also saves on hiring and training since its employee benefits earn it a high employee retention rate. The company offers competitively priced health insurance, paid sick leave, profit sharing, bonuses and pay equity. As a result, workers want to stay, which reduces turnover costs. In the end, Rosenstein says, his company succeeds by following triple-bottom-line principles: valuing people and the planet as much as profit.
Beyond his own company, Rosenstein sees the benefits of sustainable principles in all businesses and also in public policy. He believes that wider adoption of sustainable practices will be good for the businesses that adopt them – and also for our environment, economy and society.
“I would encourage businesses that do not integrate triple-bottom-line principles to look at the business argument for sustainability,” Rosenstein says. “Our emphasis on sustainability has let us retain a loyal group of clients and employees.”
Right now, Rosenstein is most concerned about climate change. “By keeping the clean energy conversation going within local communities, the message about the long-term benefits will spread,” he says. “If communities become proactive about the climate change issues we are facing, they can push for public policies that help more businesses become sustainable and reduce their carbon pollution.”
It’s vital for the business community to deliver this message to policymakers, Rosenstein says. Too many are still taken in by the myth that businesses can’t afford to do the right thing. “The platform of corporate responsibility gives our elected officials the backbone to stand up to opposing interests.”
By joining ASBC, Rosenstein is taking his activism to a new level in helping policymakers understand the need for policies that encourage sustainable businesses to flourish as his has.
“Our successful company is strong evidence that sustainable practices are the future for business.”