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Activities – Old page

The EFCI supports the international community’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). These efforts aim to eradicate poverty and achieve a sustainable world, with human well-being and a healthy planet at its core.

The EU has fully committed itself to delivering on the 2030 Agenda and its implementation through President von der Leyen ambitious policy programme. This commitment has even greater relevance in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic by providing an impetus to ‘building back better’ towards a more inclusive, sustainable, just and resilient future for all. For all these reasons, the EFCI has decided to engage in the accomplishment of the SDGs and to accompany the European cleaning and facility services sector in its contribution to the goals.

The EFCI believes that the European cleaning and facility services sector can act as a key partner towards a more sustainable Europe through a transformational recovery from the pandemic. To this end the EFCI and its member’s work is and will be further developed along its engagements especially to those objectives in the fields of health, hygiene, sanitation, urban spaces upkeep, quality employment and equal opportunities.  The EFCI has identified SDGs 3, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 17 as those to which it can more actively contribute to.

The EFCI engages to contribute to:
The EFCI is the recognised European social partner by the European Commission for the cleaning sector. It is therefore the interlocutor of the European Institutions for social matters, but also for all other policy projects affecting the industry on the employers side. 

In this framework, the EFCI is invited to maintain an active dialogue with the trade unions: since 1999, the EFCI and UNI Europa (the European services workers union) have formally engaged in the Industrial Cleaning Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee, that meets 3 times per year and works in topics of common interest identified in a bi-annual work programme.

The EFCI and UNI Europa have jointly developed statements, projects and guides on relevant issues for the sector. Among others:

The current Work Programme of the European Social Dialogue Committee for Industrial Cleaning (2020-2021) focuses on:

  1. the challenges and opportunities linked to the impact of Covid-19;
  2. improving working conditions through tackling undeclared work, promoting vocational training and skills and quality-focused public procurement;
  3. accompanying the sector through a successful digitalisation process and the adoption of a greener economy;
  4. fair TUPE for employers and employees;
  5. and a special focus on the joint efforts to develop capacity building and strengthen effective cooperation among employers and trade union organisations. 

The Work programme was adopted during the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee meeting of 26 January 2021. During the two-year period, the work of the Social Partners will be adapted to the changing needs of the sector.

EFCI Reports
Since 1987, the EFCI has been publishing the “EFCI Report” on the state of the European cleaning sector, providing an in-depth look on the sector. It focuses on market development and employment trends and makes relevant comparisons between the studied countries. The EFCI Report is the only available analysis at European level offering research-based statistical and factual information about the European cleaning industry.

In June 2019 the EFCI published a Trend Report “The European Cleaning Industry 1995-2016” analysing the evolution of the sector during the last past 20 years. This statistical report builds on the historical EFCI Surveys and presents the evolution in the sector from different angles. It gives relevant comparisons at national level. The Trend Report shows that the cleaning industry experienced an impressive growth over the last 20 years. The industry’s turnover tripled to 107 billion Euro and employment increased by 80 %. This excellent performance is partly explained by the diversification of the sector’s activities..

In June 2020 the EFCI published “The Cleaning Industry in Europe – EFCI’s Report 2020” presenting and analysing the latest data available on the sector by June 2020. It includes comparisons at European and national level, based on the most recent data available in Eurostat, and on indicators such as turnover, number of companies and employees.

Public Procurement
Public procurement accounts for 14-16% of European GDP (EUR 2,448 billion) and is very relevant for the economy of the cleaning and facility services industry (in some countries accounting for as much as 50% of the sector’s turnover). This is why the EFCI strongly engages at all political levels, together with its member organisations, to encourage procurement focused on quality criteria and to promote good contracting practices.  

EFCI’s thorough work on the topic focuses on informing, raising awareness and advocating through policy statements and position papers, among others, for public buyers to choose quality services and use strategic procurement to address common goals. The main advocacy tool for the sector at EU level is the Selecting Best Value Guide, developed with UNI Europa.

Further, the EFCI works in close collaboration with the European Business Services Alliance (EBSA) on procurement matters. Among others, EBSA members adopted in May 2020 a Statement on good contracting practices in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.

Selecting the Best Value

The EFCI and UNI-Europa developed a guide for private and public organisations awarding contracts for public services which was presented in May 2017. The Guide assists buyers in their tendering process by guiding them through elaboration of tenders and developing the criterion that lead to the selection of quality services and the benefits attached to them. The Guide was developed with the financial support of the European Commission and in the framework of the European Social Dialogue.

The Guide aims at raising awareness about the consequences of selecting lowest bids instead of best value. The focus on price in cleaning services bids can lead to the creation of unfair competition among employers, which can contribute to adverse conditions for cleaners. Equally, lowest bidders may not be respecting wage legislation, social contributions or tax obligations.

The Guide covers all aspects of cleaning services tender procedures:

  • Defining the buyers and their needs, and what a quality service would look like for them;
  • Drawing up a procurement procedure where these quality elements are reflected;
  • Comparing tender submissions through a practical tool, whereby different bids can be evaluated against the originally selected quality criterion;
  • Evaluating bids using the selected quality criterion and selecting the bid with the highest quality.

Download the Guide (available in 12 languages) on the dedicated website. For more information about it, contact the EFCI Secretariat

Training and skills

The EFCI is launching the project “SK-Clean: Digitalisation in the cleaning sector. Supporting the skills transition for cleaning agents.” The project will reunite the sector’s training experts from across Europe to identify the key challenges and best practices to accompany the industry through a successful digital transition.

The project will run between February 2020 and August 2021. It is co-founded by the European Commission under its programme Support for Social Dialogue of DG EMPL.

If your organisation is interested in contributing to the project, please contact EFCI’s Secretariat.

EFCI’s Conferences and Events

On 22 November 2018, the EFCI celebrated its 30th anniversary. During the event, the EFCI presented its new image and name, with which it opened a new period for the federation.

Since 2009, the EFCI has organised annual Conferences on the most relevant topics for the industry, with the participation of industry experts and policy makers:

  • Sustainable Development in the Cleaning Industry (2010)
  • Cleaning companies’ strategies during the economic crisis 2008-2009 and the economic recovery since 2010 (2011)
  • CSR and sustainable development in public procurement (2012)
  • Sustainable competitiveness in the Cleaning Industry (2013)
  • Renewed European Parliament and Commission – what is in for business services? (2014)
  • People and Businesses in the Cleaning Industry (2015)
  • Challenges from demographic change: the labour market now and in the future (2016)
  • Policy on Health and Safety at Work: modernisation of the EU OSH legislation and policy (June 2017)
  • Standards, Education and VET in the Cleaning Sector at national and European levels (2018)
  • Cleaning and facility services: shaping the industry for the future (2019)
  • EFCI’s 2020 Report: is the industry ready for the Covid-19 impact? (2020) Watch the video presentation here.