Whirlpool Corporation made a global commitment to reach a net-zero emissions target in its plants and operations by 2030.
The Benton Harbor-based manufacturer said this month it made the commitment, which will cover more than 30 of Whirlpool’s manufacturing sites and its large distribution centers around the world, spanning all direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions.
Whirlpool also committed to a 20% reduction in emissions linked to the use of its products across the globe (Scope 3) by 2030, compared to 2016 levels. This target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and builds on the company’s 60% reduction in emissions across all scopes since 2005.
“Whirlpool Corporation has a longstanding commitment to sustainability, and we established our first office for sustainability over 50 years ago,” said Marc Bitzer, chair and CEO of Whirlpool. “Our net-zero commitment is an important milestone in our ongoing effort to improve life at home by protecting our planet and communities.”
Scope 1 and 2 emissions
Whirlpool said it will achieve its target of reaching zero emissions across its plants and operations by 2030 through its ongoing and accelerated sustainability initiatives, including:
- Working toward 100% renewable energy usage through a combination of a) wind turbine and solar panel installation, building on the company’s record low levels of energy and water usage per appliance built and b) entry into virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) and PPAs with energy companies to fund wind and solar farms as the company works to source and generate renewable energy for homes across the world. Whirlpool broke ground on its first VPPA-financed project in Texas in January. This will offset 50% of its Scope 2 emissions in the U.S. and help reduce its overall operational carbon footprint by nearly 15%.
- Energy efficiency improvements in plants and processes, including installing LEDs and implementing energy management systems in all plants and facilities
- Leveraging carbon removal development investments to offset any remaining emissions that cannot be avoided
Whirlpool said it continues to be committed to transparency through regular updates and detailed disclosures in its annual sustainability report.
Scope 3 emissions
To combat Scope 3 emissions, Whirlpool is working to design its products to make them more energy and water efficient. As part of this, the company is investing in innovations that automate water levels, utilize cold water settings as default and help auto-dose detergents to further lower its environmental impacts and save consumers time and money.
Through these efforts, Whirlpool is targeting a reduction in Scope 3 Category 11 emissions by an additional 20% over 2016 levels by 2030, building on the 60% reduction in the carbon footprint of its products in use since 2005.
“We are proud of the commitments we have made (this month), but we recognize our climate impacts extend beyond our plants and facilities,” said Ron Volgewede, global sustainability director for Whirlpool. “That’s why we are committed to working with our stakeholders to continue to drive improvements across the entire value chain in an ambition to reach net zero across all our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in the long term.”
As plastics production and end of life are a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, Whirlpool also is taking action to reduce waste material as part of its efforts to tackle climate challenges, including:
- Maximizing its use of materials and minimizing waste to landfill as part of its drive to adopt world-class manufacturing processes. Whirlpool is working to achieve zero waste to landfill across all global manufacturing facilities by 2022. Over 70% of Whirlpool’s manufacturing sites currently are zero waste to landfill.
- Increasing the proportion of recycled materials used in products and keeping products out of landfills by refurbishing and reselling them
- Working directly with its customers to prevent waste materials from going to landfills by providing free recycling of packaging
In addition, as a reduction in food waste could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6% to 8%, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Whirlpool is using its position as a kitchen appliance manufacturer to help prevent food waste across the globe. Its efforts include Moments Not to Be Wasted, an educational campaign designed to help raise awareness of food waste among families in its Europe, Middle East and Africa Region.