How to make sustainability business as usual

Ian Moverley, public affairs director, Whirlpool UK Appliances, gives insight into the company’s sustainability strategy and why it’s encouraging retailers to take a ‘greener’ approach to business

Q: What is Whirlpool’s goal in terms of sustainability?

A:  Whirlpool Corporation recently made a global commitment to reach net zero emissions in its plants and operations by 2030. The commitment will cover more than 30 of its manufacturing sites and large distribution centres around the world, including those here in the UK. This target will be met through the implementation of several initiatives, including the installation of wind turbines and solar panels, entry into Virtual Power Purchase Agreements with energy companies to fund wind and solar farms and investing in LEDs and Energy Management Systems to improve energy efficiency in the company’s plants and facilities. 

Whirlpool UK’s sustainability strategy focuses on three areas: sustainable plants, sustainable products and sustainable practices, spanning infrastructure and business-related activities to deliver highly efficient products, goods and services, taking less from the earth to support the longevity of the planet. Forward-thinking processes, tools and expertise are integrated into Whirlpool UK’s business strategy.   

We’re also working hard to develop products to ensure that they are more water and energy efficient.

Q: Is there a concern that the global/industry attitude towards sustainability could take a back seat following the pandemic?

A: Our insight shows that sustainability continues to grow in importance for consumers. We see no signs that this will take any form of back seat and is only going to continue to grow.

It is more important than ever that businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, particularly as consumer demand for sustainable products is greater than ever before. In addition to wanting a positive product experience, consumers also want to know that the brand they buy not only has strong environmental commitments, but also takes significant actions to ensure the sustainability of the planet for the future.

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Q: Considering that many are small, family-owned businesses, what can retailers realistically do to be more sustainable?

A: Regardless of the size of a business, there are a number of actions that all companies can take to become more sustainable. For example, by limiting or removing single-use plastics from their operations, retailers can significantly reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.

In addition, switching to renewable energy and considering electric vehicles, are options for retailers to consider.

Sustainability is increasingly moving to the forefront of consumers’ minds and, as we continue to look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment, it is undoubtedly becoming a significant factor in influencing purchasing behaviour. By recycling more materials and considering how they can limit the amount of waste that their business generates, retailers can take simple yet meaningful steps towards increasing sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

What’s more, it’s vital that retailers understand the increasing importance of sustainability and that this is reflected in the brands they partner with. Retailers should also ensure they are well versed on the wide range of innovative programmes and benefits that are offered by many modern appliances.

By taking part in manufacturers’ training opportunities, retailers can confidently inform, educate, enthuse and engage their customers on the wide range of resource efficient appliances that are available.

  • Every day in the week leading up to World Environment Day, we are publishing stories from the KBB industry to do with the environment, sustainability, and water saving. To read more articles on this topic go to www.kbbreview.com/?s=sustainability

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