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Miele 2021 sustainability report: Centred on climate strategy and longevity

Gütersloh, October 14, 2021 No. 081/2021
  • Main focus of report: Corporate climate strategy

  • Objective: Reduction in product CO2 emissions by a further 15%

Miele has reduced the consumption of its washing machines over the past 20 years by 72% based on the Energylabel, despite ongoing improvements in convenience and performance. These and around 70 other performance indicators are presented by the Gütersloh family company in its tenth sustainability report just released. Also a matter of focus: The many benefits which result from the longevity of washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances from Miele – to consumers and the environment. The overarching focus of the new report is the Miele Group's climate strategy. This also provides the point of departure for defining further objectives as part of Miele's new sustainability strategy.

'In turbulent times, more than ever, we stick to our sustainability goals', says Miele's five-strong Executive Board in its foreword. The sustainability report just published documents the progress and successes achieved during the 2019/2020 reporting period. Indubitably, there are many facets to the sustainability of domestic appliances: Life cycle, reliability and repairability are important criteria as are the energy and resource efficiency of appliances in everyday use. 'All these aspects intertwine into an overall tapestry', explains Dr. Markus Miele, Executive Director and Co-Proprietor, 'whereby the period of active use makes the biggest contribution to the environmental and climate balance of household appliances'.

Miele subscribes to the central objective of the Paris agreement, namely of reducing global warming to well below 2°C. The scientific underpinning of Miele’s climate targets by the world-renowned Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) 2021 provides further endorsement. Miele has, for example, set itself the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from the usage phase of the domestic appliances and commercial machines it sells by a further 15% by 2030 – compared with sales from 2019 (in accordance with Scope 3.11 of balancing according to the international standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). ‘In respect of what we have already achieved over recent years, this is a very ambitious target‘, Markus Miele stresses on the occasion of the report’s publication. Back in the summer, Miele announced CO2 neutrality at all of its locations in 2021 (Scopes 1 and 2 according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). This was achieved through reductions in consumption, the use of green electricity and the purchase of high-value CO2 compensation certificates. The next goal Miele has set its sights on is to reduce CO2 emissions at its sites by 50% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels – without any offsetting with compensation projects.

Life cycle and efficiency as central issues

The topics which are centre-stage in the tenth sustainability report published by the Miele Group are 'Products & Services'. 'This is where our core competences lie and also where we command the greatest leverage in terms of sustainability', claims Dr. Stefan Breit, Executive Director - Technology. The impacts, approaches and goals are described in great detail in the report. One core issue in this respect is the life expectancy of products, a subject which has always played an important role on Miele's domestic appliances and commercial products.

As the only manufacturer in its branch of industry, Miele tests the largest proportion of its domestic appliances to last 20 years. As described in the report, Miele products must evidence their reliability in exacting endurance and strain tests before they progress to series production. Today, a washing machine, for instance, must run without interruption for more than 10,000 hours, clocking up around 5,000 programme cycles in the process – based on the real-life use. A dishwasher is even subjected to 5,600 cycles. Commercial machines must meet even more stringent requirements: Washer-disinfectors, for instance, are put through their paces in an endurance testing regime lasting 15,000 hours.

In consideration of the extended period of use, the energy efficiency of machines plays a very central role. 'All Miele appliances are designed with maximum efficiency under real-life conditions in mind', Stefan Breit emphasises. The measures and innovations implemented by Miele are itemised by the sustainability report, which also explains how conversion to the new 'Energy Label' scheme has impacted the classification of Miele products. Dr. Breit: 'Even under the new and more exacting label requirements, Miele appliances are once again in the top categories'. In the case of washing machines, the bulk of models has been given a new A rating for energy efficiency.

International reporting standard on commitment in all areas

Alongside its ambitious climate strategy, Miele describes numerous other approaches and measures to achieve greater sustainability within the company and relating to its products in this year's sustainability report. Other chapters cover topics such as sustainability in the supply chain, Miele as an employer and the family company's commitment to society. Furthermore, the report documents how Miele is tackling the challenges associated with Covid-19, including diverse measures to protect employees.

The 2021 Sustainability Report has been compiled in accordance with the international guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and references the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Miele also upholds the 10 universal principles of Global Compact, the UN's sustainability initiative, of which the company has been a member since as early as 2004. The objective of the report is to make the performance of the company in sustainability-related issues transparent to stakeholders such as sustainability experts, customers, employees and business partners.

The Miele Sustainability Report will be initially available in German and English and can be downloaded from our Sustanability page. A version of the report will also appear shortly in French.


Company profile: Miele is the world's leading manufacturer of premium domestic appliances including cooking, baking and steam-cooking appliances, refrigeration products, coffee makers, dishwashers and laundry and floor care products. Their product portfolio also includes dishwashers, air purifiers, washing machines and tumble dryers for commercial use as well as washer-disinfectors and sterilisers for use in medical and laboratory applications (Miele Professional). Founded in 1899, the company has eight production plants in Germany, one each in Austria, the Czech Republic, China, Romania and Poland as well as two production plants belonging to its Italian medical technology subsidiary Steelco. Sales in the 2020 business year amounted to around € 4.5 bn (thereof 29.5% in Germany). Miele is represented with its own sales subsidiaries and via importers in almost 100 countries/regions. Throughout the world, the family-run enterprise, now in its fourth generation, employs a workforce of around 20,900, of which approx. 11,050 employees work in Germany. The company has its headquarters in Gütersloh in Westphalia.


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Miele's 2021 Sustainability Report describes the company's climate strategy and its commitment to people and the environment. (Photo: Miele)

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Miele has succeeded in reducing the electricity consumption of its domestic appliances by more than 55% over the past 20 years. Today, the entire portfolio is geared to energy efficiency. (Photo: Miele)

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Dr. Markus Miele, Executive Director and Co-Proprietor: 'We want to cut CO2 emissions on our appliances by 15% by 2030'. (Photo: Miele)


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Dr. Stefan Breit, Executive Director - Technology: 'All Miele products are geared to maximum efficiency under real-life conditions'. (Photo: Miele)

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