At the end of August 2018, Kohler Company has for a second time publicly released a Sustainability and Stewardship Report. The 2017 Sustainability and Stewardship Report presents our efforts to positively impact the environment and supporting change in global communities. Or in our CEO and President David Kohler’s words: ‘lf we can get the entire organization to look at its daily work through a lens of sustainability, we can drive change from within.’ Addressing three of the United Nations’s Sustainable Goals with priority, great efforts have been made to improve in these areas:
– No. 6: Access to water and sanitation for all.
– No. 7: Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy.
– No. 12: Ensuring responsible consumption and production patterns.
The Sustainability and Stewardship report details the reduction of water use per unit of sales by over 4% and smaller initiatives at the plant level that led to a waste-to-landfill decrease by 14% per unit of sales.
Looking way beyond our own manufacturing footprint and contributing to change and improvement, our teams have been very active in disaster relief. After the hurricane in Puerto Rico, more than 30,000 Clarity Water Filters were delivered in collaboration with Operation Blessing. On the other side of the world in China, the team at the Changzhou plant worked extra hard packing and shipping generators to support relief efforts after a huge earthquake had struck in Southern China in 2017. Each one of the 37,000 associates did their part in helping and supporting those in need. The first Run for Clarity to raise awareness about the challenge of accessing drinking water exceeded all expectations. Runners and walkers accumulated more than 60,000 kilometers (the initial goal was 40,025) and Kohler Company donated 5,000 Clarity Water Filters to help families in rural areas around the world.
Sustainability in Product Design:
Up to 80% of a product’s lifetime environmental impact occurs in the early stages of development. Design for Environment (DfE) is valued as much as criteria such as cost, quality, time-to-market, and innovation in the overall process. The sustainability team collaborates closely with the product design teams on business case support, training, and providing tools to integrate a holistic approach.
Commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace:
We participated – for the first time – in the Human Rights Corporate Equality Index. This index measures the work environment for LGBT employees in the United States. The rating for our company was 90 out of 100 points. We continue to make every effort to improve and take actionable ideas into account that were gained through the participation. This enhancement was already implemented when we signed up with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce in Wisconsin. The non-profit organization brings together like-minded companies and facilities to implement strategies at the workplace for more inclusive work cultures.
All of these efforts come full circle at the newly opened Waste Lab where industrial waste is reused, recycled, and repurposed into beautiful, new products. Theresa Millard and her team are taking insights gained from the first few months on the road. She recently spoke at the Kohler Experience Center in London. Whether it is solar energy, repurposing waste materials, organizing sustainability training and LEED certification classes, making a difference through stewardship activities, or impacting the communities through the art, our leadership and all the associates participate in efforts to contribute to a higher level of gracious living. Every day. Everywhere.