Industry Leaders Forum: Mark Piwkowski, CEO, Quayclean Australia

We have a responsibility to commit to undertaking sustainability initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment.

How was 2023 for Quayclean?

Quayclean experienced another strong year of continued growth across industry sectors with the addition of new customers while, pleasingly, renewing several long-term contracts, particularly in the Aquatic and Leisure industries.

We were delighted to have been awarded the Optus Stadium contract which extends our major stadia reach from Sydney to Perth. We are the chief provider of cleaning and waste management services to stadiums and public venues across Australia.

We were also thrilled to have assisted the Sydney Opera House achieve a 6 Star Green Star Performance Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

This was all accomplished despite the Federal Government re-introducing restricted working hours for Student Visa Holders which placed increased pressure on service industry providers at a time of record low unemployment.

What are the company’s main priorities for 2024?

Stability within our workforce, continued growth, and remaining focused on training and expanding our group of emerging leaders will be our priorities.

Quayclean is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, and we will be aiming to motivate businesses locally and around the world to embrace sustainable and socially accountable policies and behaviours.

We will also focus on Environment, Social and Governance related Sustainable Development Goals and we will also embed our Reconciliation Action Plan and our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy.

What are the most significant opportunities and challenges in the industry? How can the industry best leverage or address these?

That the cleaning industry collectively should collaborate with a united voice to raise and discuss important issues with government.

For too long the cleaning industry views have been overlooked and discarded by governments despite being a major employer of Australians and our work is central to the daily operations of business.

Also, business procurement managers need to understand the real costs of cleaning and the value of our work. The cost of labour has risen 15 per cent over the past year and the role of cleaners is much wider than mopping a floor and emptying a bin.

What do you expect to be the big trends of 2024?

We have a responsibility to commit to undertaking sustainability initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment.

This year marked the halfway point towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and academics have reported that only two of the 36 Goals were on track to be reached by 2030. More businesses and customers are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibility towards environmental matters and sustainability.

Are there any key sustainability commitments/targets Quayclean has made for 2024? How will you measure your progress?

Quayclean has a strong sustainability engagement record, producing a range of environmentally friendly products, developing site specific recycling and waste management programs.

Additionally, we have adopted seven of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and our leadership group will be meeting in the New Year to review our progress.

We have partnered with Carbon Consultancy ‘South Pole’ to assist us on our journey to carbon neutrality and achieve Climate Active Certification.

We are measuring our carbon footprint so we can create and implement an Emissions Reduction Strategy and we will work with our customers to continue to increase our rates of recycling and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

What’s your leadership philosophy?

We respect our responsibility to make our customers look great and our staff are our most important advocates when they are off and on site.

We want to have a deep, meaningful relationship with our workers, we want them to be proud to work for Quayclean, and how they each can make the world a better place because of the work they perform.

We want our workers to aspire to become leaders within Quayclean and that is a reason why we have created the Quay Academy leadership program to provide that opportunity.

Do you have a message for the industry?

Never undersell or undervalue the role we play. We must continue to educate procurement managers about the real costs of cleaning under the Modern Award.

Too much of the industry sector is driven by procurement manager’s desire to drive down price when the Cleaning Award is very prescriptive on what must be paid.

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