At Whirlpool Corporation, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. Just as we have taken a global approach to our home appliance business, we believe our world's environmental issues, such as climate change, must be addressed in a similarly comprehensive way. This is why we continue to develop innovative products that minimize their impact on the environment while making our consumers' lives easier.
— Jeff M. Fettig, Chairman and CEO, Whirlpool Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation is an industry leader in developing high-performance appliances that help conserve the earth's resources and allow homeowners to use resources more efficiently. We continually strive to understand and manage the environmental effects of our business, not only by creating new and innovative products that consume less energy and water, but also by improving our processes and using materials that minimize the impact on the planet.
Whirlpool Corporation has a long-term commitment to environmental protection and natural resource efficiency, which began in 1970 with the creation of a corporate office for environmental control. As we have grown globally, we have developed and applied global environmental standards based on the protection of the environment, even when existing laws in some countries would allow Whirlpool to perform at levels below our global standards.
This commitment, which began with a focus on Whirlpool manufacturing operations, extends to the environmental impact of our products. The majority of pollution created by an appliance occurs during its in-home use and is generally 10 to 20 times higher than the pollution created during its production, distribution or disposal life cycle phases. Whirlpool Corporation's dedication to our products' potential impact on the environment is demonstrated not only through product design and manufacture, but also through every aspect of the organization. This commitment is embodied in Whirlpool Corporation's participation in the voluntary ENERGY STAR programs in the United States and Canada, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partnership and our Global Greenhouse Gas reduction pledge, a goal that will be realized in part through the production and sale of resource efficient appliances.
Our focus on the environment also extends to public policy and community engagement. Whirlpool was one of 13 founding members of the Business Environment Leadership Council, an advisory group to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The Center conducts studies and international educational programs on the issue of global climate change. Whirlpool agrees with the Council's opinion and the views of most scientists that enough is known about the science and environmental impacts of climate change for Whirlpool to take actions to address its consequences.
Current Energy and Efficiency Efforts
Whirlpool Corporation focuses its energy and water efficiency efforts on four key areas:
- Design and development
- Focused on creating even more resource-saving appliances as studies show that 93 percent of life-cycle GHG emissions come from in-home use
- Whirlpool Corporation manufactures and markets more than 300 ENERGY STAR®-qualified major appliances in the United States, plus numerous ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances in Canada, PROCEL appliances in Brazil and Class-A appliances in Europe
- Lessened power plant emissions through low-energy lighting and high-efficiency equipment
- Participated in the EPA's voluntary emissions reductions program
- In process of discontinuing the use of volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and eliminating emissions from their solvents
- Product distribution
- Partnered with SmartWay Transport®, a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight industry to increase energy efficiency while reducing carbon dioxide by 33 to 66 million metric tons and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide per year by 2012
- Installed electric truck lifts in the United States, resulting in fewer net emissions
- End-of-life management
- Eighty-five to 90 percent of materials (steel and other metals, some plastics) used in Whirlpool Corporation-produced products can be recycled
- Pioneered efforts to safely dispose of ozone-depleting refrigerants
- Reuse plastic foam that was previously sent to landfills; it’s now ground up and made into plastic furniture, food containers, playground equipment and other consumer products
History of Commitment
Whirlpool Corporation has conducted business with integrity and given back to the communities in which the company operates since our founding in 1911, long before the environment became a focus of business and society. Here is a snapshot of Whirlpool Corporation’s key milestones:
1970 Established the corporate office for environmental control
1975 Led in crafting the Energy Policy and Conservation Act
1979 Helped craft U.S. Federal Trade Commission Energy Labeling Rules and every appliance efficiency standard and test procedure in the United States since the late 1970s
1996 Honored as founding member of the Business Environment Leadership Council, an advisory group to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; Helped develop the Green Lights Program, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) precursor to the ENERGY STAR® program
1998 Collaborated with the European Authorities to draft the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which requires the proper recycling of appliances according to the European and national requirements. Whirlpool products already widely met the 2008 recycling and recovery targets required by the WEEE Directive
2003 Became the world’s first appliance manufacturer to announce a global greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target; the company’s goal was a 3 percent reduction from 1998 levels by 2008
2004 Reached goal where Whirlpool Corporation's release of toxic chemicals in the United States was nearly 90 percent less than the releases compared to the 1987 baseline year, while at the same time production increased approximately 80 percent
2007 Announced a revised GHG reduction target of 6.6 percent by 2012