Our Approach

At Whirlpool Corporation, we believe that sustainable practices are just as important as sustainable products and plants in creating a sustainable business.

The way in which we carry out our everyday business through sound environmental practices is critical to our continued success. Our environmental commitment must be embedded in our business practices everywhere we operate, including how we design, source, manufacture, distribute, market, and manage end of life for our products. We utilize tools and processes to make our practices more sustainable.


New tools and systems improve sustainability decision making

We launched the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management System (GEMS) in 2018 to determine our global emissions footprint in all regions and models for products in use. GEMS combines over 12 unique systems into one data source that is able to track data from a baseline year of 2016. GEMS uses the energy and water consumption of products to calculate lifetime product emissions. To accurately convert energy consumption to emissions, GEMS considers International Energy Agency (IEA) provided emissions factors and a product lifetime of 10 years. In 2019, data quality improved to a point where over 90% of the energy and water attributes come from published or reputable internal sources.

GEMS covers over 250 million products produced since 2016 and their emissions, providing essential data to encourage innovation around energy and water efficiency. For example, we are able to track changes and demographic trends in our regions and build product innovations to meet those trends. A growing middle class globally means there is a larger demand for our products, and we must meet this demand while reducing our impact on limited natural resources. Similarly, as we ship more products, our absolute emissions may grow, making it even more critical that we use innovation to meet demand while lowering emissions.

The development of GEMS was so successful that, in 2019, it was integrated into a broader program called the Sustainability Analytics Global Ecosystem (SAGE). SAGE is a platform for the systems we use for environmental stewardship, including GEMS and three other programs: a system for tracking Eco-Fees, a program for Critical Materials Management, and a tool to calculate emissions related to potential carbon credits. With the integration of GEMS into SAGE, we can now deploy solutions to more complex data problems and enable more long-term and data-driven decision making.

We have also been partnering with Schneider Electric since 2010, adopting Schneider’s sustainability management platform, Resource Advisor, to monitor and track data across our facilities worldwide. The data collection is consistent and accurate, including metrics related to waste, water, energy, and plant emissions. Global sites use Resource Advisor to report environmental data in a centralized system, compare key performance indicators with other sites, and review all data from previous years. Our decade-long relationship with Schneider Electric has led to continuous system improvements and sharing of key insights that can better optimize the data to meet our sustainability goals.

Photo courtesy of NTICS Projetos

Empowering employee innovation and engagement

In 2019, employees at our Benton Harbor, Michigan location launched the ECHO (Eco-Conscious in the Home and Office) group to encourage small actions that improve sustainability practices through education and events. To start, ECHO was split into two committees, one focused on reducing plastic waste in cafeterias, and the other focused on community cleanup volunteering. These initial focus areas will allow the group to make an impact and experiment before expanding to other locations.

In Brazil, Whirlpool Corporation employees helped raise awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by partnering with NTICS Projetos in a community engagement project. The project impacted nearly 25,000 people in the Joinville, Manaus, and Rio Claro communities where Whirlpool Corporation’s plants are located. Participants had the opportunity to interact through 238 activities focused on increasing awareness, learning about the importance and impacts of the SDGs, and reflecting on actionable initiatives for individuals and the community. The project had 12 strategic partners, 55 local partners, and generated more than 100 temporary jobs.

#PlasticLess and a New
Plastic-Free Commitment

Each year one Seabin can collect

plastic bags
1-liter, or
plastic bottles
Each Seabin can operate
with minimal human effort

Reducing Plastic Waste in Waterways

LifeGate PlasticLess is a project designed to safeguard the health of waterways and combat plastic pollution in ports and marinas. In 2019, Whirlpool Corporation EMEA helped install 11 new Seabins along Italy’s coast. Seabins are devices that catch plastic waste as the water’s current passes through. Seabins are capable of capturing around 1.5 kg of plastic a day—the weight of 100 bottles—or over 1,100 pounds of waste a year, including microplastics from 2 to 5 mm in diameter and microfibers as small as 0.3 mm, which get caught in the algae that fish ingest, thus directly entering the food chain. Once captured, the waste is collected and disposed by waste management operators selected by municipal authorities. Our engagement with municipalities is producing major results in terms of raising awareness among citizens and public administrations. Whirlpool Corporation EMEA’s participation in the project has led to the installation of 13 Seabins in Italy to date.

In 2019, Whirlpool Corporation also began supporting the LifeGate PlasticLess campaign in southwestern England. A Seabin was installed in Portishead Quays Marina near Whirlpool Corporation’s Yate facility, which has maintained zero waste to landfill since 2015. We will continue collaborating with LifeGate PlasticLess in 2020 as we roll out Seabins around the U.K. coast.