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2021 Sustainability

Sustainable Operations

We know our ability to operate in the future depends on producing innovative products without leaving a negative footprint and helping to protect our employees and the communities in which we operate. This ideal of a resilient, sustainable operation drives our strategy to establish firm goals and targets with detailed transition plans to achieve them. We have set into place commitments on reaching Net Zero emissions, Zero Waste to Landfill, and reduced energy and water intensity, while protecting the health and safety of our employees.

A robust governance structure with our Board of Directors, Executive Committee and our ESG Councils monitors and tracks our performance and makes sure we are properly investing in those plans. These transition plans are detailed in this report, and they show how we can grow our top line and support our financial goals, while creating more resilient, efficient and safer operations. This year, we have seen record results in many of our normalized environmental KPIs again, showing not only absolute improvement, but also intensity improvements. Through our “We Care” commitment to protecting our employees, we have shown progress on reducing work-related incidents. With new data and reporting systems and capability, we recognized that a majority of incidents and injuries happen to employees in their first year on a job, so we are focusing on how to better support and train our teams to identify risky behaviors and potential WCM safety issues before they happen. WCM is a comprehensive methodology for improving productivity and quality and reducing losses in production systems through strong employee involvement.

It sets one of the highest global standards for manufacturing excellence. Plants are assessed by a third-party, according to the WCM criteria and, based on their results and level of commitment to the methodology, assigned a score that leads to an award that comprises four levels of classification: Bronze Level, Silver Level, Gold Level and World Class Level.

We are accelerating our World Class Manufacturing journey, showing improvement in our scores. In 2021, 28% of our manufacturing sites received higher Environmental Pillar scores, leading to more capacity and capability to drive faster implementation of key initiatives and bringing in new focus areas such as biodiversity, green procurement and green buildings, additional renewables, increased water targets and deep energy retrofits, which are all key to delivering to our committed goals.

Whirlpool Corporation’s goal is to become the benchmark for global manufacturing excellence, deliver best-in-class manufactured products at competitive cost and create a sustainable advantage for our company.

New manufacturing plant under construction in Argentina.

Achieved record GHG Emissions Scopes 1 & 2 Intensity and Water Intensity in 2021.

One example where we are deploying these initiatives is the new manufacturing plant in Argentina, which, in addition to creating more than 1,000 jobs, will use some of our key learnings to build a green factory. This will be achieved through implementing practices such as rainwater reuse, wastewater recycling, optimized energy efficiency, LED lighting, real time monitoring for energy and water consumption and biodiversity conservation. The factory is also planned to be ready to reach the WCM Silver level, by taking into account aspects such as accessibility, quality design integration, flexible expansion design and an agile production system.

We believe these initiatives will propel us forward to a sustainable, resilient and zero impact operation.

Normalized1 Environmental KPIs

  2018 2019 2020 2021
GHG Emissions Intensity Scopes 1 & 2 (metric tons of CO2eq/product) 0.0139 0.0122 0.0124 0.0115
GHG Emissions Intensity Scope 3 (metric tons of CO2eq/product 1.19 1.18 1.15 1.08
Energy Intensity (megajoules/product) 145.4 137.8 133.4 140.6
Water Intensity (m3/product) 0.0958 0.0854 0.0755 0.0707
Waste Intensity (kg/product) 6.55 6.53 5.85 6.68
Waste to Landfill Intensity (kg/product) 0.2436 0.2229 0.1894 0.2060

1 Intensity ratios define environmental KPIs in the context of an organization-specific metric. In this case, the denominator is the production volume. Intensity ratios are often called normalized environmental impact data.

Zero Waste to Landfill

We set our goal to reach Zero Waste to Landfill at our manufacturing sites in 2012 and have continued to invest in plant efficiency and waste reduction. We work closely with waste vendors and recyclers that service our sites, giving us confidence that we will achieve our target by the end of 2022. In 2021, 28 sites achieved Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWtL) Gold or Platinum status, aligned with the UL ECVP 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill standard. The UL Standard sets levels of achievement: Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Silver Level requires at least 90% diversion from landfill without waste to energy (recycling, reusing, reducing, rejecting) and up to 94% with waste to energy included. The Gold Level requires sites to divert 90% of their waste from landfill without waste to energy, and between 95% and 99% diversion with the waste to energy included. The Platinum Level is reserved for sites that reach between 99% and 100% diversion from landfill. Whirlpool Corporation expects all manufacturing sites to reach the Gold or Platinum level by the end of 2022. In 2021, five sites evolved to Platinum, and nine sites are now self-declared Platinum level.

In 2021, 90% of sites achieved Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWtL) Gold or Platinum status.

Waste Generation

(metric tons) 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total Waste 363,271 362,083 313,294 330,191
Total Non-Hazardous Waste 356,169 355,135 307,553 324,001
Total Hazardous Waste 6,186 6,948 5,741 6,190
Total Weight of Non-Hazardous Waste Diverted from Disposal (recycled, reused, reduced, etc.) 342,984 342,422 297,077 312,948
Total Weight of Hazardous Waste Diverted from Disposal (recycled, reused, reduced, etc.) 4,659 5,867 5,079 5,402
Total Weight of Non-Hazardous Waste Disposed 13,185 12,713 10,476 11,053
Total Weight of Hazardous Waste Disposed 1,527 1,081 662 788
Total Waste to Landfill 13,503 12,554 10,144 10,940

Waste Management

  2018 2019 2020 2021
# of Plants Achieved Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWtL) 8 8 25 28
% Manufacturing Sites Achieved Zero Waste to Landfill 70% 90%
% Waste to Recycling >96% >96% 96% 95%
% Waste to Landfill <3.5% <3.5% 3.10% 3.31%
% Waste to Incineration 0.26% 0.32% 0.20% 0.27%
% Waste to Incineration with Energy Recovery 0.23% 0.20% 0.70% 1.08%

Over 90% of our sites have achieved Zero Waste to Landfill

Site-Specific Actions to Reduce Waste

For the purpose of improving our waste management practices and continuing our alignment to the UL ECVP 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill standard, Whirlpool Corporation plans to start 2022 with a pre-assessment at one site in each region and a training for all global sites to ensure that each facility is equipped to meet ZWtL Gold or Platinum level by the end of 2022. As the deadline for sites to reach ZWtL Gold or Platinum level approaches, Whirlpool Corporation is looking ahead for a new level of waste achievement on the journey. Our sites have set internal targets to reduce the total volume of waste generated at the site, and each site is working to shift from recycling to reuse, reduce and reject rather than wasting materials at all. Such initiatives are guided by the WCM Environmental pillar.

Zero Waste Mindset In Action

At the Marion, Ohio plant, water fountains were disabled to help protect workers from COVID-19. As a result, the site noticed a huge increase in plastic water bottles in both recycling and landfill collection bins. While a majority of the bottles were recycled, the Environmental pillar team at Marion was able to save around $3,000 and over 80,000 pounds of waste by installing COVID-safe, touch-free water fountains and providing reusable bottles for the site employees.

In 2021, the Whirlpool Plastics site in Mexico achieved the ZWtL Gold level when they increased their waste diverted from landfill from 92.2% to 97.3%. The site has focused on reusing, reducing and rejecting to lower their waste to landfill and overall waste together. In Latin America, 92% of the inbound raw material packaging in the Joinville plant are returnable (plastic and metal boxes), and the site also implemented a process to reuse plastic and cardboard packaging internally—annually, 48 tons of plastic/cardboard are reused.

Our Findlay, Ohio site reduced waste by collecting plastic bottle caps for the Miracle League of Findlay. 192 pounds of bottle caps were collected at the plant, then melted down to create ADA compliant benches for the Miracle League park in Findlay, Ohio.


The Environmental pillar of our WCM system is responsible for managing water consumption at the manufacturing sites, and uses a cost analysis tool to address losses in our systems. Using WCM methods, sites consistently perform much better than our 1% reduction per year target. Over the past five years, 34% reduction on water consumption has been achieved globally.

Over the past five years, 34% reduction on water consumption has been achieved globally.

Our water stewardship plan is part of the environmental management system and focuses on continuous improvement of water efficiency in our sites and supporting projects that improve water reuse and recycling. The sites use metering that feeds into KPIs for water management and conservation, and some sites interact with local groups within the watershed in order to make water-related decisions. Our employees receive WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) services in all sites, including training on safe water practices, hygiene and general health.

For the past two years, the Latin America region (LAR) has been piloting a new water recirculation measure to go beyond reducing water consumption each year. In 2021, the LAR sites recirculated 98% of their water intake and captured rainwater to reduce their water intake requirements. At the Joinville site, rainwater accounts for 8% of the total water intake. The water-saving initiatives at Whirlpool Corporation sites in Brazil were recognized with the 2021 National Water Agency (ANA) award in the category of “medium and large companies.”

Water Consumption

(megaliters) 2018 2019 2020 2021
Municipal Water 3,567.37 3,289.88 2,553.95 2,310.09
Groundwater 1,496.68 1,330.69 1,267.40 1,258.82
Recycled Water 164.72 176.49 175.03 105.53
Surface Water 222.19 187.27 224.14 185.63
Rainwater 22.46 33.99 28.86 70.84

Water Discharge Destination

(megaliters) 2018 2019 2020 2021
Wastewater On-Site Chemical Physical Treatment 999.86 1,034.09 946.59 895.85
Wastewater On-Site Biological Treatment 291.32 306.54 272.04 264.15
Wastewater Off-Site Treatment 1,888.07 1,710.73 1,330.48 1,158.86
Wastewater Surface Water 500.64 605.42 587.26 509.67
Wastewater Evaporation 131.00 135.90 102.04 85.73

Compliance with local and national laws and regulations is a priority for Whirlpool Corporation’s manufacturing facilities. In order to track performance and implement changes if necessary, all incidents related to wastewater exceedances are registered and investigated. In North America, the sites are going beyond compliance and striving for improvements in wastewater treatment.

At the Marion, Ohio site the project team identified that the on-site wastewater treatment plant was consuming a large amount of lime to treat the incoming process fluid in order to meet standards set by the municipality, which resulted in large amounts of sludge being generated. After testing with multiple vendors and checking different technologies, the project team decided to replace lime with caustic for pH control. The new solution reduced the amount of sludge generated by 20% and completely eliminated the use of lime.


In addition to promoting energy and water efficiency and waste management practices, the WCM Environmental pillar establishes proactive steps to preserve biodiversity in areas where Whirlpool Corporation operates. Natural ecosystems are vitally important for sustaining life on Earth, and they can be the basis for climate change adaptation and securing a thriving future for our communities. That’s why our efforts focus on control, protection and restoration of green areas, fauna and flora surrounding our sites, by partnering with key stakeholders in our communities.

In Brazil, our operations are located in three important biomes: Atlantic Forest, Cerrado and the Amazon. Our sites are surrounded by a green area of more than 370,000 square meters, which includes four rivers and two water springs and is the habitat of more than 1,370 animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The green areas are used for environmental education and awareness campaigns with employees and the community. In 2021, our Joinville site welcomed a group of 24 students from four different countries represented by AIESEC that visited the green area in the site and learned about biodiversity preservation and the company’s initiatives for helping to protect the environment.

Our Cassinetta site in Italy borders the protected area of Brabbia Marsh, which is owned by Provincia di Varese and managed by LIPU (Italian League for Protection of Birds). It is qualified as a Zone with Special Protection and hosts nine species of trees, 15 species of fishes and 41 species of birds. As part of the WCM strategy, Whirlpool Corporation is connecting with public authorities and the local university to start a conservation project, aiming at helping to protect the local biodiversity.

The Ramos site in Mexico conducted a reforestation campaign with employees in 2021, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Apoya tu Bosque Local. Employees were invited to adopt trees, which were planted around the cities of Saltillo and Arteaga in areas that have suffered severe forest fires. In total, 713 trees were planted.

In 2021, the site also received certification from the Environmental Secretary of Coahuila de Zaragoza as “Green Office Gold.” This is a voluntary program aiming at engaging employees in the participating organizations and promoting responsible environmental practices that benefit the environment. Five aspects are evaluated, including efficient use of electricity and water, waste reduction and separation, efficient use of fuel and maintenance of the vehicular part and efficient use of office and toilet materials.

Employee & Community Engagement with Sustainability

Aligned with our commitment to maintaining strong, lasting connections in the communities in which we do business and with our employees, Whirlpool Corporation continued to promote environmental stewardship through conservation and sustainable practices.

Our Rio Claro site in Brazil received two honorable mentions from the 26th FIESP (Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo) Environmental Merit Award. The site was recognized for its Environmental Guardians Program, an initiative that engages site employees in promoting environmental practices in their routine jobs, and the New Environmental Management: commitment to the future and to World Class Manufacturing.

In Brazil, we dedicated the month of October to environmental education and had many activities with employees to celebrate Conscious Consumption Day, the Zero Waste Week and the International Day of Climate Action. More than 100 employees participated in a webinar with Instituto Lixo Zero Brasil, a member of the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). Employee volunteers at the three manufacturing sites in Brazil collected waste from a public space and sent it to appropriate disposal facilities, removing more than 2 tons of waste. The team also participated in a webinar with Cristal Muniz, a lifestyle influencer who talked about individual environmental stewardship and invited people to choose better attitudes.

In 2021, our team in Lodz, Poland participated in different events in partnership with the City Council to collect waste from the streets in the community and in the area around our factory. More than 440 pounds of waste were collected and sent to appropriate disposal facilities. In Italy, the team in Cassinetta promoted GreenWeek 2021, an event with students from several universities who had a chance to visit our plant and see actions implemented for energy and water conservation and waste reduction.