Aligned with the National Waste Management Policy, in 2011 Whirlpool committed to the challenge of zero industrial waste sent to landfills up to December 2014, and so it did.
The success of the initiatives that enabled this result stimulated the Company to establish a new goal for 2015 of zero non-industrial waste sent to landfills.
In order to attain this goal and then minimize one of the business environmental impacts, the Company has worked hard since 2011, with leadership’ efforts, employees’ awareness and behavioral changes, supplier engagement, and business opportunities development with external partners, as well as investments in new processes, technologies and materials.
A practical example of the results obtained from these initiatives is the reuse of polyurethane foam — used to fill the inner part of refrigerators and freezers. The factory located in Joinville stopped disposing this substance in 2013 and began to recycle it to be applied in other industries in the production process of chairs, school tables, frames of doors and windows, in addition to energy cogeneration.
Such initiatives were developed in the entire operation, in a big engagement effort, given the dimension of business and, therefore, the great environmental impact reduction: together, São Paulo, Manaus, Joinville and Rio Claro units have almost 16,000 employees, and more than 163,000 trucks transporting above 1.5 million metric tonnes of products, materials and raw materials.
And it all well worth the effort. Whirlpool was one of the first companies in Brazil to achieve this goal in all factories. With all these advances, around 793 metric tonnes (estimated volume based on landfill disposal in 2012) of waste were not sent to landfills by the Company between 2012 and 2014.
Landfill disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste from Whirlpool’s operations was reduced by 72.7% and 52.3%, respectively, between 2012 and 2014.
Below are the volume of materials used, waste generated and its destination.
|Main materials consumed in operations||2013 (t)||Derived from recycling (%)||2014 (t)||Derived from recycling (%)|
|Destination||Type of waste||Volume disposed (t)|
|Waste sent to landfills||Hazardous — Class I||44||35||12|
|Non-hazardous — Class II||1,457||1,022||696|
|Waste for co-processing||Hazardous — Class I||517||514||547|
|Non-hazardous — Class II||48||139||308|
|Recycling of waste||Hazardous — Class I||980||1,052||768|
|Non-hazardous — Class II||611||3,613||5,957|
|Scrap||Non-hazardous — Class II||31,852||29,043||26,045|
|Incineration||Hazardous — Class I||13||22||21|
|Non-hazardous — Class II||323||313||284|
|TOTAL||Hazardous — Class I||1,554||1,623||1,347|
|Non-hazardous — Class II||34,292||34,130||33,291|
Rational use of water is one of the main points of concern for Whirlpool’s sustainability management.
Given that water is an essential resource for the business and for life, the Company devotes attention to consumption efficiency in operations — in factories and offices — and to awareness raising and engagement of its stakeholders for the reduction of individual consumption, in addition to developing products that helps reducing household consumption.
The initiatives brought about an important effect: Whirlpool’s average water consumption in 2013 and 2014 reduced 9.3% despite the increase in production, accounting for 63,557 m3. In all units, water consumption per manufactured product stayed within the targets established for the year.
Given the huge dimension of the Company’s operations, this volume saved represents the daily consumption of around 382,000 people*.
In addition, a total of 428,000 m3. of water were reused between 2013 and 2014 — a volume which was not withdrawn from supply sources —, representing the daily consumption of 2.6 million inhabitants.* According to average consumption per inhabitant in Brazil estimated by the 2013 Water Service Analysis published by the Sistema Nacional de Informações sobre Saneamento (SNIS) [the Brazilian Sanitation Information System].
This result was possible thanks to several projects that enabled, for example, the collection and use of rainwater, water treatment, and reuse of treated water. Below are the main initiatives developed in the period:
Estação de Tratamento de Efluentes (ETE) [Wastewater Treatment Plant] of the Rio Claro Laundry Technology Center –ETE treats and reuses wastewater derived from more than 300 laundry product test sites since 2012. This process reduced 60% of water withdrawn from artesian aquifers and avoided the disposal of 3.96 million liters/ month of effluents — more than 90% of load, and the estimation is that 2.6 million liters are reused in laboratory tests and 1.4 million in other activities, such as bathrooms and floor washing.
Rainwater harvest system in Manaus — The system collects on average 30 m3. of water per week to be used by the unit, thus reducing withdrawal from water table. In 2013 and 2014, a total of 1,120 m3. of water was collected, representing the daily consumption of 18,700 inhabitants.
Awareness raising and savings in São Paulo - In 2014, given the challenging scenario of low rainfall that affected the state of São Paulo, Whirlpool strived harder to save water in the city, a strategic location for the business (its headquarters and a operational unit located in the region).
The Company’s initiatives to reduce water consumption brought about significant effects in the period, and they were very important in the city of São Paulo, which had poor rainfall and is under the high risk of water shortage. Whirlpool reduced the consumption in São Paulo unit and its administrative center by 48% between 2013 and 2014. The goal for 2015 is to reduce more 10% of water consumption in the region.
A significant management program was implemented to reduce consumption through infrastructure improvements and awareness raising initiatives, as follows:
In addition to the initiatives aimed at reducing consumption, Whirlpool, as a measure to manage the crisis, signed a contract with a company to provide water tank truckers for a continuous period and flow to ensure the alternative supply of water in regions under shortage risk.
Whirlpool treats wastewater derived from its operations before disposing it to sewage networks or water bodies, in order to comply with environmental legislation and avoid pollution.
Whirlpool’s energy consumption management invests in improved energy efficiency processes in the Company’s operations and in new technologies to reduce consumption of home appliances.
More than 90%* of CO2 emissions in the product life cycle occur during usage, at the consumers’ homes, due to electricity consumption. This is the reason why investments in alternative products that consume less electricity (and gas in case of ranges) are so important.* calculated based on estimated data.
Whirlpool participates in a social program conducted by Brazilian electricity providers aimed at stimulating the replacement of old home appliances in low income communities for newer and more efficient products. In 2013, Whirlpool provided 87,000 refrigerators, 16,000 of which were offered in exchange of the old ones, which were sent for recycling. With this initiatives,
One of the initiatives taken by Whirlpool between 2013 and 2014 to enhance energy efficiency was its significant participation in the Programa Brasileiro de Etiquetagem (PBE) [Brazilian Labeling Program] managed by the Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Qualidade e Tecnologia (Inmetro) [National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology]. With the Associação Nacional de Fabricantes de Produtos Eletroeletrônicos (Eletros) [Brazilian Association of Manufacturers of Electroelectronics], in which the Company has a representative, Whirlpool took part in several discussions about the improvement in energy efficiency ratios for major home appliances, and the improvement in industry’s regulation and public policies. The Company will continue this initiative in 2015, seeking to transform the agreements already made into regulation and to ensure expected regulatory advances.
In 2013 and 2014, Whirlpool’s continuous production portfolio was composed of 409 and 534 appliances, respectively, registered at Inmetro. Products’ energy consumption is classified into the following energy efficiency classes, A being the most energy efficient and E the least efficient.
For further information on energy efficiency classes and the PBE, go to http://www2.inmetro.gov.br/pbe/cartilha.php (only in portuguese)
Improved efficiency in Whirlpool’s processes can allow for significant gains in energy savings, given the huge dimension of the Company’s operations.
Whirlpool’s factories have reduced energy consumption by manufactured product since 2000, when it began to be monitored and better managed through projects focused on new technologies, replacement of engines, replacement of bulbs, and process intelligence and optimization.
Between 2012 and 2014, reduction of total energy consumption came to 6.6%, and energy intensity, the ratio between energy consumption and revenues in the period, improved by 23.4%.
ratio between energy consumed by gross sales in R$ during the period.*Includes consumption of operations in Brazil and Argentina.
Whirlpool seeks to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the reversion of climate change caused by them.
Most of greenhouse gas emissions in the Company’s operations come from suppliers and service providers, which historically account for 40% of total emissions registered in its inventory. The remaining emissions directly related to the business are the focus of the Company’s performance improvement initiatives.
The main effort is the pursuit of energy efficiency, because most of emissions directly generated by Whirlpool’s activities are related to energy use for equipment operation or heating processes, and the indirectly generated emissions refer to electricity consumption during usage of appliances.
For this reason, the Company is constantly fostering energy efficiency in processes and products. For more information on related initiatives, refer to Chapter Energy efficiency.
Whirlpool prepares annually its greenhouse gas emission inventory to monitor the changes in indicators, in order to support management and provide transparent information to stakeholders. Prior-year inventories are available at http://goo.gl/evqeiS.
As a result of the constant efforts to make operations more efficient in terms of energy consumption and, consequently, of greenhouse gas emissions, Whirlpool had significant reductions in 2013 and 2014 scope 1 emissions.
Despite the increased number of products manufactured during the years, scope 1 emissions per manufactured product — those related directly to the Company’s operations — reduced 34.8% between 2012 and 2014, mainly due to the initiatives for the decrease in fossil fuel consumption.
Scope 2 emissions — deriving from purchased electricity — increased 84% when compared to the 2012–2013 period and 42% in the year-over-year comparison, mainly due to the increase of 47% and 41%, respectively, in the conversion factor determined by the government, based on Brazil’s energy matrix, over which the Company does not have any control.
Besides, the inventory was adjusted because 2012 data did not include the correct kWh/CO2 conversion factor for Manaus unit, which is located in the Amazonia isolated system. Consequently, with the correct factor in 2013, the volume of t CO2 eq deriving from energy consumption in that unit increased.
Scope 3 emissions — those related to Whirlpool’s value chain — correspond to 44.2% of Company’s total emissions at the end of 2014, and come mainly from the distribution of products from factories and warehouses to large retailers. The 13% increase between 2012 and 2014 was a result of the greater number of products distributed and the broader scope of emissions monitored in the year, which began to include the distance traveled to transfer parts and products between units.
One of the Company’s strategic sustainability objectives is to reduce the use of restricted substances in its operations. For this purpose, it evaluates constantly raw materials used in the manufacturing of products, in order to minimize social and environmental impacts.
It is worth mentioning that Whirlpool complies with all market regulations, but seeks constant improvement because it endorses related international practices. An example is the US regulatory requirements with regard to the so called Conflict Minerals, which restrict the use of minerals extracted from conflict zones in Congo, Africa, where human rights are infringed.
Another example was the Ministry of Environment decision in 2012 to make a national inventory of the use of new persistent organic pollutants (POPs), in order to comply with the 2004 Stockholm Convention international environmental treaty. The Ministry also constantly reviews the rules to control imports of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), as per the Montreal Protocol international treaty agreed in 1987.
HCFCs, used in thermal insulation foam for refrigerators and refrigeration circuits for air conditioners, are not produced in Brazil. For that reason, they are subject to import quotas, which control their use and stimulate companies to seek for new alternatives and solutions.
Whirlpool is already using high volumes of alternative substances, selected based on criterias allowing reductions of environmental impacts and increase in energy efficiency of products and operations. One of the ways to continuously monitor and manage these changes is through the Sistema de Gestão Integrada (SGI) [Integrated Management System], which includes frequent internal and external audits in operations conducted by skilled professionals to measure efficiency of processes and activities according to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management).
The innovation and product development process takes into account such requirements through the Design for Environment (DfE) methodology; and the supply chain through the Sistema de Gestão Integrada para Fornecedores (SGIF) [Integrated Supplier Management System].