With better data on materials and energy usage, Whirlpool is ramping up its sustainability efforts and achieving major savings.
Whirlpool Corp. wants to sell appliances and it does so in massive quantities, to the tune of $21 billion annually. But the world’s largest appliance manufacturer also wants to create a relationship with its customers where they can be “proud” of purchasing a Whirlpool product, not only because of how it performs but because of what the company does to “create a healthier and better planet,” says Ron Voglewede, Whirlpool’s director of global sustainability.
Key elements of Whirlpool’s sustainability strategy involve getting a handle on materials usage and energy efficiency. Some of those efforts include:
- Using materials that reduce environmental impact, such as using a liquid blowing agent for refrigeration developed by Honeywell that improves insulation while reducing the potential for global warming by 99.9% compared to current materials.
- Improving the efficiency of manufacturing facilities, through the implementation of LEED-certified buildings and using electric lift trucks
- Producing Energy Star-compliant appliances and working with companies such as Ford and Nest on smart home integration and home resource efficiency.
- Setting a goal of 100% zero waste to landfills by 2022.
But with 70 facilities and 93,000 employees globally, developing and coordinating sustainability efforts across Whirlpool’s is no easy feat. Voglewede observed that employees wanted to do the right thing environmentally but their grassroots efforts were disjointed and often lacked the data to ensure that they were getting the biggest bang for the buck.