Management approach: Environment

Electrolux applies a product lifecycle approach to managing environmental impacts. Factories, warehouses and offices have processes in place to manage risks and integrate environmental priorities.

Roles and responsibilities

Each business area is required by Group Management to implement an environmental management system throughout its operations. The system is built on the Environmental Policy, Workplace Standard (the Group’s guidelines on how to meet Electrolux sustainability-related codes and policies) and ISO14001 certification. All manufacturing units of over 50 people must be certified to ISO 14001, and newly acquired units are required to complete the certification process within three years of acquisition. Today, 93% of applicable operations are certified according to ISO14001.

Board engagement

The Board monitors progress in implementing the sustainability strategy as part of its review of strategic orientation, business risks and its evaluation of operational management. Mechanisms to inform the Board include internal audits, management performance, public disclosure, emissions accounting and strategic planning. In addition, the Board is supplied with Green Range data, which tracks sales and profitability of each business sector’s product offering of energy- and water-efficient products, on an annual basis.

Operational responsibility

Electrolux Sustainability Affairs, a Group staff function, is responsible for driving and monitoring environmental performance group-wide, as well as public disclosure. It co-ordinates environmental reduction targets at the operational level as well as carbon emissions relating to transportation.

The Electrolux Manufacturing System (EMS) is a program to implement lean production that covers global manufacturing facilities for both major and small appliances. In addition, EMS is used for monitoring and eliminating waste and increasing safety and quality within production processes.

Green Spirit is an initiative focused on environmental performance improvement and employee awareness raising. Energy-saving targets are implemented in offices, factories and warehouses through the program.


During 2011, the focus was on:

  • Achieving the energy reduction target, a year ahead of schedule
  • Monitoring progress on the transport and water goals in major markets
  • Implementing best practice
  • Engaging suppliers to report their energy use.

Goals and performance

For 2011 achievements and future objectives, see performance reviews for Products, marketing and services, People and operations (Efficiency) and Stakeholders and society (Responsible sourcing), the latter covers work with suppliers.


Material use is collated on a site-by-site basis during the annual Environmental Performance Assessment. The site manager is responsible for sending data to Sustainability Affairs. Continuous improvement in reducing material use is driven through ISO 14001.


As part of the sustainability strategy, Electrolux is reducing energy impacts and engaging in climate-related issues through:

  • Innovating and promoting efficient products
  • Reducing energy use in operations
  • Raising awareness of the importance of energy-efficient products.

The Group’s most relevant climate-related issue is the energy needed by customers using Electrolux products. The Group aims to expand the market for energy-smart products by influencing consumer purchasing through marketing, communications and public policy work. The Group’s approach to green product innovation and design is outlined further under EN Products and services.

Target achievement in factories is monitored by Group Sustainability Affairs and reported to the Electrolux Manufacturing System. Leaner manufacturing is an important aspect of the sustainability strategy.


Green Spirit focuses on environmental performance improvement and employee engagement through action plans. To help achieve energy- and water-saving targets in factories, offices and warehouses, each facility gathers energy and water consumption data and reports on a monthly basis to Sustainability Affairs where data is collated. Best practice examples are shared across the Group.

Green Spirit information points in facilities keep employees up to date on progress against targets. Suggestions from employees for environmental improvement are encouraged and rewarded.

During 2011, the focus of Green Spirit across the Group was on achieving the energy reduction target a year ahead of schedule. The Group exceeded the goal by a wide margin.

To keep up momentum, in 2012 Electrolux set an additional interim reductions target of 3.5%. Following the evaluation of an investment plan, a medium-term energy reduction target will follow in late 2012. Work will also continue on reducing water use and carbon dioxide emissions from transport, as per the targets defined last year.

Engagement along the value chain

Through the Workplace Standard, Electrolux requests that all suppliers measure and monitor their energy use. Electrolux launched its energy reporting standard, based on GRI criteria, among OEM (original equipment manufacturing) and ODM (original design manufacturing) suppliers. Electrolux will report on their energy use as of 2012, as part of its sustainability reporting.


A Group-wide system for gathering and tracking transport data has been developed and information collected by sectors is reported to Sustainability Affairs for monitoring. During 2011, the Group worked towards its new transport carbon reduction target and best practice is being shared across the Group. Electrolux performance is in line with its 2014, 15% carbon reduction target.


Electrolux continues its support of the UNGC Water Mandate. The Communication on Progress is included in this GRI report. Producing appliances is not water-intensive relative to many other manufacturing industries.

Electrolux has defined a reduction target for water use of 20% by 2014, using 2010 as a baseline. Water consumption in factories is managed under Green Spirit, using the same approach as the energy-savings target to compile and share water data across the Group. Performance is monitored on a monthly basis through the Green Spirit program and is in line with the target.

Electrolux engages with local authorities on issues such as water availability in regions where production facilities are located. Water availability is a local issue and raising awareness among employees is an important part of achieving water reductions. (See case study: EN8-15 Brazil gets water-wise)

The Green Spirit program engages employees in local savings initiatives. The company also has ongoing dialog with factory suppliers on how to improve processes for better water performance. Electrolux operations will continue to increase investment in innovation for water-efficient products and improve its processes in the area of assessing and monitoring water management.

Water efficiency has also been brought up with suppliers, as part of the agenda at the supplier summit in China (see case study: HR1-3 Responsible sourcing summit). Continuous water improvement is outlined as an expectation in the Workplace Standard and Environmental Policy and is mandatory for all suppliers.


Biodiversity management is not deemed a material issue for the Group. Biodiversity issues are managed locally with group-wide guidelines as defined by the Workplace Standard. Two facilities (Solaro, Italy and Revin, France) are adjacent to protected biodiversity areas. Electrolux monitors all its facilities for emissions and no significant impacts on biodiversity have been identified.

New acquisitions Olympic Group and CTI pose no additional risks. Olympic Group’s 10 factories are located in desert areas, while CTI has its three factories and two warehouses located in industrial areas in the vicinity of Santiago, Chile and Rosario, Argentina.

Emissions, effluents and waste

All hazardous waste (oils, solvents and other chemicals) is managed in accordance with local regulations.

Products and services

Together with Brand and marketing, Sustainability Affairs is responsible for engaging in the climate change agenda with stakeholders, as well as raising awareness of the role of energy and water-efficient appliances in reducing consumers’ carbon footprint.

Each business area within Electrolux promotes its own range of water- and energy-efficient appliances and vacuum cleaners. Electrolux raises the bar for products qualifying for the range on a yearly basis. Although locally defined to meet each market need and regulatory demand, the series is based on environmental parameters defined by the Group.

The company’s designers are trained on the Product Management Flow, which includes sustainability guidelines. These guidelines are currently being reviewed and the revised version will be launched during 2012.

Letter of the law

Electrolux is also preparing for increased legislation worldwide on managing chemicals, energy efficiency standards and producer responsibility for recycling of Group appliances in all markets.

REACH is an EU regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals. Electrolux sees REACH as a tool for ensuring safe products, safe production and environmental protection.

In 2007, Electrolux in Europe established a central chemical office to effectively manage chemicals regulation such as REACH, which continuously adds new chemicals to its list of targeted substances.

Water labeling

Electrolux includes information on the water use of its appliances at point-of-sale and on labeling in Australia and Europe.

ISO14001 certification

The share of factories with more than 50 employees that have certified ISO14001 environmental management systems.