Whirlpool Corporation is a global company, respected by its competitors and leading its industry. It is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $19 billion, 73,000 employees, and 72 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world.
It is surprising, then, that the company’s story begins with a business failure and the vision of one family. In 1911, Lou, Fred and Emory Upton established the Upton Machine Company of Benton Harbor, Michigan, the precursor of Whirlpool Corporation, to build their patented electric motor-driven wringer washing machine. Thanks to Lou Upton’s selling skills, the company's first major order for 100 washing machines came almost immediately. However, all of the washers promptly broke down because of a faulty cast-iron gear. The Upton’s determination to build a quality product and maintain good business urged them to replace the defective parts free of charge with an innovative new gear made from cut steel. Impressed with the young company's business ethics, the customer doubled its order to 200 washing machines.
While that event took place nearly 100 years ago, the Whirlpool values remain unchanged. The Upton’s decision was the first of many that would establish and maintain the company’s reputation for doing the right thing for customers, suppliers, employees and the communities in which the company operated. The legacy that “there is no right way to do a wrong thing” remains today.
It Begins at Home
Whirlpool and its employees voluntarily look for opportunities to positively impact society and the environment, while also ensuring that those opportunities align with the company’s business. The company strongly believes in the principles of Corporate Responsibility – of achieving success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, communities and the natural environment. Equal to protecting the health and safety of employees, it considers environmental stewardship among its most important business responsibilities. This belief is only reinforced as its operations extend to virtually every corner of the globe.
Energy and Water Efficient Across the Value Chain
Whirlpool Corporation takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. For more than 30 years, the company has shown a commitment to effectively utilizing and preserving natural resources. In 1970, Whirlpool created a corporate office for environmental control, and in 2003, Whirlpool became the world’s first appliance manufacturer to announce a greenhouse gas reduction strategy. In 2007, the company announced it will increase its commitment to environmentally-sound business practices by reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by a further 6.6 percent by 2012, while at the same time experiencing increasing production volumes.
The company has applied its innovative technologies to reducing appliance water and energy consumption, resulting in some of the most efficient products available on the market. Since 1975, the average water usage for washing machines has been reduced 69 percent, and dishwasher average water usage has been reduced 61 percent. These improvements have been realized while providing increasing performance and the features that consumers desire.
Whirlpool continually strives to understand and manage the environmental effects of the business, not only by creating new and innovative products that consume less water and energy, but also by improving processes and using materials that minimize the impact on the planet. Whirlpool is the only manufacturer of appliances that brings this “across the board” focus to energy and water conservation, from design to manufacture and distribution, to the end of the product life cycle. The company persistently strives for improvements, while always keeping in mind that exceeding the expectations of the customer is its goal.
Leading by Example
The company’s focus on the environment also extends to public policy and community engagement, including its involvement in crafting every appliance energy and water efficiency standard in the United States. A key part of the company’s action is its charter membership with the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE). Through this partnership, Whirlpool seeks to promote the efficient and sustainable use of water in cooperation with business, government and special interest water advocates.
Whirlpool understands that the greatest advances are achieved not alone, but through cooperation and close collaboration with others. That includes working with industry, policymakers and organizations like AWE to create more choices and better solutions that benefit everyone.
Leadership is also about bringing products to market that help consumers manage their household water and energy more efficiently:
The new Duet® Steam laundry pair saves enough water in a normal wash cycle to fill a 16’ x 20’ x 6’ swimming pool over the course of a year. The steam options also freshen fabrics, eliminating unnecessary trips to the dry cleaner. In fact, proper use of steam in the dry cycle can substantially reduce total drying time.
The Whirlpool® brand Fabric Freshener removes odors from clothing while relaxing wrinkles without using chemicals or detergents. It can also save on trips to the dry cleaner. The Fabric Freshener uses only nine ounces of water and 10 cents of electricity per cycle.
Imagine having a dishwasher that saves enough water in one year to give every person in Williamsburg, Virginia, a glass of water. Whirlpool Gold® Tall Tub dishwashers with the PowerScour™ option deep cleans the dirtiest baked-on dishes without using an additional drop of water.
Additional information can be found at www.whirlpoolcorp.com.