Biggest commendation in Europe for ecological and social commitment
Holistic implementation at Miele convinces jury in domestic appliance category
Miele, the world's leading manufacturer of premium domestic appliances, receives the German Sustainability Award 2023. For the second time since 2014, the family-run enterprise put in a compelling performance as the most sustainable company with its strategy and its action for greater sustainability on all levels – this time in the newly created 'Domestic appliances' category. Success was evidenced both by long-lasting products and resource-saving production, as well as lived responsibility towards supply chains and employees and measures aimed at saving CO2.
'This new and significant award confirms our intensive pursuit of a holistic sustainability strategy and our efforts to push our commitment with consistency', says Rebecca Steinhage, responsible as Executive Director for Human Resources and Corporate Affairs which includes sustainability at Miele. Miele won its first German Sustainability Award in 2014 for 'high-level continuity in sustainable corporate governance'. And Miele subscribes to this continuity to this day. The focus is on climate protection and the conservation of resources with the goal of setting up a circular value chain for domestic appliances. 'We aim to achieve a situation in which all materials used in our appliances are returned to the material cycle at the end of their life', explains Steinhage the long-term goal. She will receive the award at the ceremony in Düsseldorf on November 23.
The German Sustainability Award honours not only the ambitious goals the company has set itself but also celebrates above all the successes along the path so far. A significant share is attributed to the products themselves in more ways than one: 'Our appliances are not only very good when run in the Eco programme but also prove to be energy-saving across all programmes in daily use', maintains Christoph Wendker, Vice President Corporate Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs and responsible for the company's sustainability strategy. A glance at Miele's CO2 balance reveals just how important this is: Around 83 per cent of this is attributed to machines during their usage phase. This is not least so high because Miele appliances are particularly long-lasting. They are tested to the equivalent of up to 20 years’ service life. The excellent repair-friendliness of Miele appliances – and not only since this has been demanded by EU legislation – contributes towards prolonged usage. In addition to this, Miele stocks just under 90,000 different functional spare parts for a period of at least 15 years after the discontinuation of production – very special in this branch of industry.
Climate protection and circular economy at Miele are the focus of sustainability strategy
Alongside the products, the jury was also convinced by the company's commitment in expanding the use of renewable sources of energy. Miele has been CO2-neutral on balance since 2021 and is making great efforts to further reduce emissions. All production sites not only buy their electricity from green sources but also harvest their own power and heat from PV arrays and geo-thermal plants or are in the process of setting up such installations. CO2 emissions are cut in the supply chain through the use of green steel and green aluminium where production makes use of climate-friendly sources of energy. In the vehicle fleet, the transition to electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles is in full swing.
In order to achieve the goal of a completely circular economy, Miele has devised and tested various concepts, for instance on the refurbishment and re-use of old appliances and materials. Furthermore, recycling is also a focal point of Miele's attention. Recycled plastics have been tested and are already in use, and new production processes to cut down on materials have been developed. Alongside climate protection and the sparing use of resources, social responsibility also plays a key role in Miele's sustainability strategy. This applies to both the supply chain and the more than 23,000 employees of the Miele Group. By way of an example, Miele is one of only a few companies in Germany which is certified according to the international SA8000 social standard. Miele has placed both itself and its upstream suppliers under obligation to comply with this directive along with several codes of conduct covering human and labour rights.
German Sustainability Prize with new methodology
The German Sustainability Prize identifies companies in all branches of industry which have achieved success on their long and arduous path towards sustainability. Independent specialist juries decided on the basis of sustainability profiles which companies lead the field in 100 categories and identified those companies which have excelled within their branch in making an efficient, successful and exemplary contribution to transformation and are leading by example. Participation was open to companies of all sizes and from all branches of industry. Alongside this, comprehensive AI-assisted research was performed on publicly available data on the Internet, as published for example in sustainability reports, declarations on the German Sustainability Code or on corporate websites. These processes were accompanied scientifically; quality assurance was performed manually.
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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, washing machines and tumble dryers for commercial use as well as washer-disinfectors and sterilisers for use in medical and laboratory applications. 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 2022 business year amounted to around € 5.43 bn. 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 23,300, of which approx. 11,900 employees work in Germany. The company has its headquarters in Gütersloh in Westphalia.
Rebecca Steinhage, Executive Director Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, and Christoph Wendker, Vice President Corporate Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, are pleased at being awarded the German Sustainability Prize, to which the company's commitment to renewable sources of energy contributed – including the PV arrays at Miele' headquarters in Gütersloh. (Photo: Miele)
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