Sustainability-logoWe’ll be emphasizing why Sustainability Matters every day from Tuesday, March 22 – World Water Day through Friday, April 22 – Earth Day. We’re going to use that 30 day window to share some of Whirlpool Corporation’s sustainability successes. There’s a lot of great things happening within Whirlpool Corporation across the globe and we hope you’re as excited as we were to learn about it all.

But in truth, sustainability isn’t really anything new here at Whirlpool Corporation. We have a 46 year history of advances in sustainability founded on a simple principle: “Do the right things, the right ways. Always.” We were focused on sustainability long before it became the norm.

In 1970, Whirlpool Corporation established a corporate office for environmental control. Five years later, we led the creation of the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), which helps to create industry-wide appliance efficiency standards. In 1979 we helped craft US Federal Trade Commission Energy Labeling Rules and every appliance efficiency standard and test procedure in the US since the late 1970’s.

Fast forward to 1996, when Whirlpool Corporation was honored as a founding member of the Business Environment Leadership Council, an advisory group to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Within two years, we collaborated with European authorities to draft the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which requires the proper recycling of appliances according to European and national requirements. (Fun fact: At this time many Whirlpool products already met the 2008 recycling and recovery targets required by the WEEE Directive.)

Whirlpool Corporation became the world’s first appliance manufacturer to announce a global greenhouse gas reduction target in 2003. Our goal was a 3% reduction from 1998 levels by 2008. (Another fun fact: We ended up exceeding the goal one year early and announced a revised reduction target of 6.6% by 2012.) In 2006, Whirlpool operations’ release of toxic chemicals in the US was nearly 90% less than the releases compared to the 1987 baseline year, while at the same time production increased approximately 80%.

In 2012, we began partnering with AHAM, UL and CSA to develop the first industry sustainability standards for appliances. We officially opened the LEED Gold-certified Cleveland, TN manufacturing facility. Whirlpool Canada was named 2012 ENERGY STAR® Manufacturer of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. AHAM announced new sustainability standards for refrigerators, which experts from Whirlpool Corporation played a key role in developing. We officially established a zero waste to landfill goal for all of our global manufacturing facilities.

The next year, Whirlpool brand introduced the industry’s first smart-grid enabled appliance suite. AHAM announced new sustainability standards for clothes washers. (Final fun fact: Whirlpool Corporation had the first front load and top load washer certified to the standard.) That same year, we converted the first refrigerator line to use Honeywell Solstice(R) Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) for foam insulation. The Honeywell Solstice(R) LBA offers a 99.9% decrease in global warming potential based on the GHG Equivalencies Calculator and is equivalent to removing more than 400,000 cars from the road.

Enough of the history lesson – let’s look ahead! I invite you to join us for the next 30 days to learn how we’re using wind and solar energy to power our manufacturing plants, metering at all global facilities to promote efficiency and decrease waste, capturing rainwater and greywater for re-use, composting food waste…the list goes on and on.

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.”
— Margaret Mead

March 22, 2016