Electrolux is aiming to make its operations climate neutral by 2030 by working holistically throughout its global business. Achieving climate neutral operations is a part of the company's broader climate neutrality roadmap for its entire value chain by 2050.
Electrolux has reduced the energy consumed at its manufacturing sites per product by around 43% compared with 2005. This equates to an improvement in energy efficiency by around 3% every year for the last 10 years.
"We have significantly reduced our energy use through continuous energy management improvements, incorporating more renewable energy into our operations and by looking for energy efficient solutions in every step of our operations," explains Giuseppe Caiulo, VP Group Operations Sustainability, Maintenance & EMS. "Some of our high-temperature processes such as enameling are a challenge, but we have broken down such complicated processes into different stages and are working to find out how we can reduce emissions in every step of the process."
A holistic approach to reducing emissions
"But working toward climate neutral operations, doesn't just involve working with energy – it involves working with the efficient use of all kinds of resources," says Caiulo.
The company’s internal resource efficiency program and rating system is continuously improved to reduce environmental impact and operational costs. It has a holistic approach, focusing on the efficient use of all resources – from energy and water, to waste and packaging.
"By reducing, reusing and recycling all kinds of resources as much as possible, we can ensure the better use of resources while decreasing our emissions," says Caiulo.
The incorporation of innovative solutions is also important – such as the adoption of plastic stretch film rather than shrink wrapping, which requires the application of heat. The solution avoids the need for heating and has already been adopted in some Electrolux factories.
Zero waste is key for climate neutrality
Electrolux has made good progress on its global Zero Waste to Landfill program in 2021. Today, improved waste management ensures that about 97% of the total waste produced by Electrolux sites is either reused or recycled. As sending waste to either incineration or landfill results in emissions, zero waste is crucial for achieving climate neutral operations.
"I am particularly proud of our work to compost food waste from the canteens of our factories, such as San Carlos in Brazil where we compost food waste to create composting soil for the local community," says Caiulo. "It's a simple example of how we have converted a problem into a solution that helps the local community to produce food."
Another example of reducing waste in Australia is replacing wood pallets that were used to transfer products from suppliers that couldn't be reused with cardboard pallets that can be easily recycled into new packaging.
The importance of partner collaboration
"Our supply chain partners are essential to achieve our sustainability objectives and we are working to raise awareness among suppliers, for example by working with them through the CDP Program," says Caiulo. "In fact, we will use our internal team to support suppliers to build better processes concerning energy, waste and technological solutions. This work often goes beyond our own operations but contributes to our objective of making our entire value chain carbon neutral by 2050."
Electrolux is dependent on supply chain partner collaboration to achieve climate neutrality in the transportation of its materials and products by 2030. This involves a lot of raising awareness among partners and promoting solutions such as the use of biofuels and ensuring full containers.
Importantly, Electrolux has signed agreements with two major shipping companies to use more sustainable fuels – including biofuel based on waste cooking oil. The fuels will help Electrolux to reduce its total sea transport greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in 2022.
"We still have many challenges ahead of us in terms of climate neutral operations, but I have no doubt that we will achieve our objective by 2030," concludes Caiulo. "I am extremely proud of our team and the willingness of Electrolux to invest in more sustainable operations – we really are a leader in our industry."
Read more in our For the Better 2030 Goal: Be climate neutral and drive clean and resource-efficient operations.