Refreshed Materiality Assessment
In 2019, Whirlpool Corporation collaborated with a third-party consultant to conduct a refreshed materiality assessment, using a standardized step-by-step procedure to prioritize environmental, social, and governance factors that have the greatest impact on our performance and that are of utmost importance to our stakeholders.
The previous materiality assessment was completed in 2016, and helped us define areas of focus for informed decision making by our Sustainability Steering Committee. We refreshed the materiality matrix in consideration of the broader sustainability trends impacting our company and our industry. The analysis also sought to identify critical priorities, risks, and opportunities in our industry over the coming years.
We started the assessment with an analysis of industry trends and benchmarks of external frameworks such as the GRI Standards, Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and other relevant frameworks, which resulted in an initial list of potential topics. The next step was performing a stakeholder mapping and prioritization exercise. The third-party consultant conducted an assessment of the aggregate feedback from internal and external stakeholders, which included our senior executives and management-level employees, as well as suppliers, investors, trade customers, and associations, non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, peer companies, communication agencies, and external frameworks, comprising a total of 168 interactions. In response to stakeholder feedback, we have included new reporting in the appendix of this report that addresses the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) disclosure topics and we will continue to evaluate the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework for future sustainability reports.
The assessment resulted in a preliminary materiality matrix that was reviewed by the ESG task force which then adjusted certain items based on an internal impact assessment. The final matrix was then validated by our Sustainability Steering Committee and will inform our ESG objectives and strategies moving forward.
The materiality process identified 10 ESG priorities for Whirlpool CORPORATION:
- Technology & Innovation Inclusive of Design for Environment
- Product Life Cycle and End of Life (Recyclability and Remanufacturing)
- GHG Emissions From Products and Plants
- Energy Management
- Diversity & Equal Opportunity
- Local Communities
- Occupational Health & Safety
- Product Safety & Quality
- Corporate Governance & Ethics
- Responsible Sourcing