SUSTAINABILITY AT WHIRLPOOL
Sustainability is embedded in Whirlpool of New Zealand’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. The policy states that the company, while fulfilling its social obligations, will also do the following:
- Deliver high performance and aesthetically designed products while reducing the company’s environmental footprint. Continuously work towards bringing resource-friendly appliances to the market that are more efficient than their predecessors.
- Truthfully declare energy and water consumption, where applicable.
- Abide by current and future legislations on use of ozone depleting, global warming and hazardous substances.
- Implement processes at our facilities that will eliminate waste and drive operating efficiencies.
- Reduce impact to the environment by responsibly handling end-of-life products.
Several initiatives have been taken on the above.
Whirlpool was among the first brands to embrace the energy labeling programme when it was first implemented in 2006 for Refrigerators and Air Conditioners, declaring energy rating for all its products in these categories well before it became mandatory. Products have been reengineered every time there has been an upward revision of energy ratings to maintain a high percentage of products in the higher efficiency band. As a result, all our refrigerators and 90% of our air conditioners are 3* and above.
Energy efficiency in our plants has been an area of continuous focus since our foray into New Zealand. All three plants implement energy savings projects every year to reduce consumption of electricity. Despite factory output growing year after year, and augmentation of machinery that draws power, net usage of power per product has come down by 15% in the last 20 years. Some recent actions that have been taken in our factories are:
- Installation of a 100 kVA solar energy plant in one of our factories and solar water heater in another.
- Use of energy efficient screw compressors, vacuum pumps and very efficient Turbomiser Chillers.
- Replacement of fluorescent tube lights & HPSV lamps with LED lights.
- Installation of control systems or modification of existing equipment for smarter energy consumption.
This is another area of continuous focus since inception of the company. Initiatives taken in our manufacturing has led to reduction of water consumption by more than 70%. These include recirculation and reuse of water, utilisation of waste water from Reverse Osmosis purification units for hand and crockery washing, rainwater storage, and using low flow water taps in cafeteria and toilets. Water from Effluent Treatment Plant is used as an input to generate fresh water through Reverse Osmosis purifiers.
The use of new technologies in our washing machines, such as Eco Spray in 3600 Bloomwash series, has reduced water consumption by 15%.
Whirlpool has phased out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in both refrigerator plants in New Zealand and has converted to Cyclopentane, a substance that is not only zero ODS but which has negligible Global Warming Potential (GWP).
Further, we have switched the refrigerant used in our refrigerators from R134a, a hydro fluorocarbon that has a GWP of 1300, to R600a, a hydrocarbon with zero ODS and GWP of 8. At present, 90% of production of refrigerators in New Zealand is with R600a.
All our refrigerator products are hence truly ‘green’ and environment friendly.
World class safety standards have been installed in both facilities, certified by TUV New Zealand, a leading Inspection, Certification and Testing organisation.
Whirlpool is compliant with regulations governing use of hazardous substances. Our refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners do not contain hazardous substances. We are close to phasing out hazardous substances in other categories, even before they are mandated.
Whirlpool of New Zealand is working with its parent on conforming to requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act). The Act’s intent is to try and curb violence and exploitation in Democratic Republic of Congo and its neighbouring countries by ceasing sourcing of four minerals – Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum and Gold – from this region. New Zealand has participated in the identification process of suppliers who source these minerals from DRC and will collaborate with the Whirlpool Corporation on all subsequent steps to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act.
It is Whirlpool’s intention to eliminate diversion of waste to landfill. As part of this goal, compost units have been installed for converting waste food to manure at one of our plants, reducing waste to landfill by 10 tons.
With regard to electronic waste, we have recycled a total of 687,825 kilograms of electronic waste in the financial year 2013-14. The company has also set up a take-back programme for consumers wishing to hand over end-of-life products for safe disposal.
Finally, products that we manufacture in our three production facilities are made with a high focus on quality and safety, while ensuring that our plants comply with all environmental laws.
- All our Plants are Quality Management System ISO 9001 certified.
- Faridabad Plant is Environment Management system ISO 14001 and Occupational Health and Safety Management system OSHAS 18001 certified.
- Pondicherry plant is ISO 14001 certified.