Electrolux has been on a sustainability journey for quite some time - and as time goes by, their commitment to lowering their environmental impact only gets stronger. In fact, they have a long list of ambitious goals to undertake by 2030 in their quest to help create a more sustainable world.
Derek Haley is the Acting General Manager at Electrolux. He talks to us about the brand’s sustainability journey, how ingrained in their core values environmental awareness has always been - and what trajectory it is taking the company on.
“As a Swedish company, sustainability has been an important part of the business globally for a long time,” Derek explains, taking us exactly 20 years back when Electrolux set out their first Environmental Policy, closely followed by the release of their first Environmental Report in 1995. The cusp of the new millennium brought an inclusion onto the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as the sustainability leader in its industry. From there, in 2003, Electrolux joined the UN Global Compact and a year later implemented the Electrolux Restricted Materials List.
In 2014 Electrolux formalised their environmental commitments further and set out to halve their environmental impact by 2020 as part of the “For the Better 2020” framework. With the second quarter of 2021 now underway, Electrolux can proudly say that they nearly met the goal, achieving a decrease of almost 40%. Split into three categories, the framework captured initiatives around Better Solutions, Better Initiatives and Better Society and encompassed some crucial environmental accomplishments. “We reduced our CO2 emissions by 70% since 2015, which was a huge achievement for us,” says Derek. “We also managed to improve overall water efficiency by more than 40% - a critical outcome for factories in water-scarce regions,” he adds. In that time, the brand also made significant progress when it comes to their commitment to sustainability in food. In 2016, Electrolux established a Global Food Foundation to promote more sustainable food choices and educate consumers on how to reduce food waste. The brand also launched a series of initiatives in partnership with OzHarvest to further help minimise food scraps in Australia.
In making a tremendous impact on the company's sustainability journey, “For the Better 2020” set foundations for Electrolux's next big commitment - “For the Better 2030” - as part of which they launched a new programme called “Better Living”. Derek explains the new endeavour, “It's essentially an 11-year action plan that aims at creating a more sustainable world, and it spans across four categories - Better Eating, Better Clothing Care, Better Home Environment and Better Company.”
The overarching goals Electrolux wants to achieve within these categories are to make sustainable eating the preferred choice, make clothes last twice as long with half the environmental impact - and make homes healthier and more sustainable through innovative air, water and flooring solutions. Electrolux is also committed to making its business circular and climate neutral.
To achieve these goals, “Better Living” encompasses 100 evolving initiatives Electrolux pledges to undertake by 2030. The framework is well underway - the company has reached four of the goals, and the next five are already in progress. Derek highlights some of the achieved objectives, “We've developed a vacuum made from 100% recycled and reused materials and developed a food saving prototype - a connected fridge that makes it easier to save leftover food.” The brand has also launched an important initiative within the Better Garment Care space. “We created a program that empowers consumers to clean clothes efficiently in 30°C in under one hour, challenging the idea that the hotter the water, the cleaner the clothes,” Derek says.
And what's in progress? “We're currently in the process of rolling out a Zero Waste to Landfill programme in all of our factories locally. We will start in Adelaide, at our factory in Dudley Park, which is powered by 7,500 solar panels. And with the construction of our new six star energy rated facility in Ravenhall, Victoria we will see a world leading factory where more than 80% of our own energy is generated on site. This will have us headed in the right direction of running all our operations on 100% renewable energy by 2030,” Derek talks about the initiatives that are already contributing to fighting climate change. He then adds that they power their forklift fleet by renewable energy and not gas, and that the company is also planning to replace all high-impact greenhouse gases in their appliances by 2023 to further reduce their environmental footprint.
With a robust list of many more projects in the pipeline, Scandinavian heritage firmly anchored in environmental awareness - and a bold outlook on what's possible in the future, Electrolux is undoubtedly one of the leading brands that have outlined a tremendous level of commitment to their sustainability journey, and it certainly looks like it will succeed.
If you’d like to find out more about Electrolux’s environmental efforts, read up on their progress and other achievements in the Electrolux Sustainability Report 2020.
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