Manufacturing, Retail, and Sustainability

Whirlpool releases corporate sustainability report

April 22, 2019
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Whirlpool Corporation global headquarters
The global headquarters of Whirlpool Corporation is located in Benton Harbor. Courtesy Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool Corporation has published a report highlighting the company’s progress on the sustainability front in 2018.

The Benton Harbor-based appliance maker last week published its 2018 “Corporate Sustainability Report,” which shows “particularly strong results in its efforts to reduce the amount of natural resources required in manufacturing its appliances,” according to Whirlpool Corporation.

Whirlpool’s sustainability agenda encompasses stakeholder engagement, executive accountability and science-based methodology to focus on actions that drive “absolute and positive environmental and social impact.”

“In 2018, we continued to reduce the amount of water and energy used by our products, accelerated our progress toward the goal of zero waste to landfill across the enterprise and maintained strong connections in our communities through social responsibility and volunteerism,” said Marc Bitzer, board chair and CEO, Whirlpool Corporation.

“2019 marks nearly 50 years of Whirlpool Corporation’s commitment to sustainability, and we’re proud that our experience and results prove that sound corporate citizenship and environmental performance are good business.”

The full 2018 “Corporate Sustainability Report” is online.

Highlights

Sustainable plants

“World-class" manufacturing: This program focuses on the environmental and energy usage in Whirlpool’s manufacturing facilities. Through the program, the company addresses, prioritizes and tracks efficiency improvements, helping contribute to a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 7% from 2017 to 2018 in Whirlpool plants. That 7% is the equivalent of emissions from nearly 10,000 homes' electricity use for one year, according to Whirlpool.

Zero waste to landfill: Throughout Whirlpool’s operations, progress has accelerated toward the goal of zero waste to landfill across the enterprise, with eight manufacturing facilities in multiple regions achieving zero-waste status. About 2,128 tons of waste were diverted from landfills in 2018.

Sustainable products

Global emissions management system: To improve transparency about product emissions, Whirlpool developed a new global emissions management system that determines a global footprint for the company’s products, unifying over 12 unique systems into one global reporting capability. This system will track data from a baseline year of 2016, improving the ability to act strategically to lower the footprint of the company’s product portfolio. The improved system will lead to the potential for improved, science-based goal setting in 2019.

Resource efficiency: Whirlpool’s emphasis on resource efficiency led the company to develop design-for-environment tools to deliver more sustainable products that use more recycled content. These capabilities will help fulfill the commitment to use 100% recycled content on major plastic components in Whirlpool-made European products by 2025, as well as to use a majority of recycled-content steel.

Sustainable practices

Water reduction: Whirlpool’s collective work, improved processes and technology have resulted in a reduction in water consumption of nearly 10% from 2017 to 2018 in the company’s manufacturing facilities. That’s enough to run 56 million dishwasher loads, 14 million loads of laundry or fill 240 Olympic swimming pools, according to Whirlpool.

Investing in communities: For two decades, Whirlpool has partnered with Habitat for Humanity with total cash and in-kind donations totaling more than $107 million and over 197,300 ranges and refrigerators to new Habitat homes in the U.S. and Canada.

Volunteerism: In 2018, Whirlpool employees contributed 268,000 volunteer hours.

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