Not that long ago, "sustainability" in the business world was defined as being able to stay afloat even in trying economic times. But these days, when Greta Thunberg may be the most famous Swede since Ingrid Bergman, it's taken on a whole different meaning - what the Harvard Business School describes as efforts to "positively impact the environment and/or society."
Of course, some businesses, like Whirlpool Corporation, have been ahead of the game, and are now setting even higher new targets to tackle climate change.
"We established our first office for sustainability over 50 years ago," said Marc Bitzer, the company's chairman and CEO.
1. Achieving Net-Zero Carbon Emissions in Plants and Operations By 2030
That's the updated commitment to environmental sustainability that the world's leading kitchen and laundry appliance company just announced this month.
To get there, the company has been installing even more wind turbines and solar panels to help power its sites and distribution centers with renewable energy. (It's already one of the Fortune 500's largest U.S. on-site users of wind energy.)
And it's improving efficiency across more than 30 of its manufacturing sites and distribution centers around the world though retrofits.
2. Greening Homes Through VPPAs
That's Virtual Power Purchase Agreements for the uninitiated. Or in other words, agreements signed with energy companies to help fund wind and solar farms to generate renewable energy for the grid.
Whirlpool Corporation's first VPPA project broke ground in Texas in early January. It promises to be the first of many such projects helping to cleanly power not just its own sites but also local homes.
That's right, ordinary people's homes.
3.Innovative Household Products
It shouldn't surprise anyone that U.S. News & World Report named four innovative Whirlpool brand products among the best refrigerators, dryers and washing machines of 2021. Yes, they look great. But they're also designed to be extremely energy and water efficient.
In fact, Whirlpool Corporation has already reduced the emissions linked to its products in use by 60 percent since 2005 and has committed to lowering them by an additional 20 percent by 2030 from a 2016 baseline.
One fun fact for you: Dishwashers save three to four times the water compared to hand washing your dishes. And, hey, they save you about 30 minutes each time too.
4.Helping Even You Reduce Waste Material
Not content that more than 70 percent of its manufacturing sites are already zero waste to landfill, the company aims to make that 100 percent by 2022.
Plus, to tackle other environmental challenges like plastic pollution, it's ramping up the use of recycled or reused materials in its appliances. And guess what? Those high-performance recycled plastics Whirlpool Corporation started to employ in its products means it's making use of you own waste.