Vanessa Butani, Head of Sustainability at Electrolux Europe, talks to Business Review about the company’s strategic goals and offers insights into how our day-to-day lives could be more sustainable.
By Anda Sebesi
What are Electrolux’s business objectives in terms of sustainability?
Sustainability is truly part of our DNA and part of who we are as a global appliance manufacturer. As a leader in sustainability, we launched the Better Living Programme in 2019 as an 11-year action plan that aims to shape better and more sustainable living around the world. Its focus is an evolving list of 100 bold actions that we pledge to undertake by 2030. These actions represent our commitment to the four 2030 targets which we have defined across the categories of Better Eating, Better Clothing Care, Better Home Environment, and Better Company. For example, Future Sustainable Kitchen, an online event that took place recently, brought together experts from across the food ecosystem to discuss how we could all work together to turn sustainable eating into the preferred choice.
What measures has Electrolux taken in order to achieve these sustainability goals?
The first step was recognising our role and what we could achieve by setting ambitious targets. We created a consumer experience organisation to show that we were really trying to become a consumer-driven experience company.
In addition, among the concrete actions that have allowed us to leverage our heritage and build our brand have been our campaigns, including Make It Last, where our target is to make clothes last twice as long and have half the environmental impact. Through the Make It Last campaign we want to help and inspire people to wash their clothes in a way that gives them a longer life. And it is not just about the washing machine; it is about using it the right way, understanding its functionalities, and thinking ahead. Our study called The Truth About Laundry, which included around 12,000 adults across Europe across Europe, found that many of us learn to wash our clothes from our parents and our habits need to be updated considering the high quality of detergents nowadays, as well as how powerful our washing machines are and their multiple functionalities.
On the food side, for example, we’ve partnered up with SideChef, an all-in-one home cooking platform that provides over 18,000 interactive smart recipes with dynamic guidance. We want to help people cook more sustainably and challenge the perception that healthy cooking is difficult, takes a long time, and doesn’t taste good.
What can you tell us about the innovative features and technologies embedded in Electrolux appliances?
We always try to challenge ourselves and we set targets like reducing the amount of CO2 emissions from our products by 25 percent by 2025. In terms of specific technologies, we have launched the FridgeCam, which allows consumers to remotely check on the contents of their fridge via a mobile app, and it’s very helpful because using what you already have helps you avoid overconsumption and food waste.
Can you provide some details about the Sustainable Eating concept?
One example is the Electrolux Food Foundation. It supports local initiatives to inspire more sustainable food choices among consumers and professionals. This includes helping to adopt more plant-based eating and minimise nutrition loss in cooking, but also finding ways to reduce food waste. Public data shows that 52 percent of people consider themselves to be climate conscious, yet we don’t live as sustainably as we would like. Hence, empowering consumers and trying to close the gap between what they want to do and what they are actually doing is a big challenge. Many people don’t understand all the functionalities of their appliances and how they could use them in a more sustainable way, so all the technologies we’ve introduced allow consumers to find easier ways to cook food in a healthy manner.