Kohler Co. Releases First-Ever ESG Report

Published: July 29, 2022

Kohler Co. released its first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report highlighting goals and progress across environmental sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion and social impact. The report, which was prepared with reference to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), also outlines the actions the company is taking to embed ESG in its business strategy and operations.

“As we step up integration of ESG across all parts of our business and supply chain, this first report reflects a commitment to transparency and always working to be better,” said David Kohler, president & CEO, Kohler Co. “Even as a private company, we are accountable for the promises we make.”

In 2021, Kohler continued to make progress against its 2035 Net Zero global operational goals, improved its diversity hiring, and advanced the development and manufacture of innovative products that serve a social purpose:

  • 54% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity across operations since 2008; 10% reduction in net GHG emissions intensity in 2021 from prior year across operations ]
  • 52% reduction in water intake intensity since 2008; 7% reduction in water intake intensity in 2021 from prior year across operations 
  • 3% increase in the ratio of women hired compared to men globally 
  • 61% of permanent associate hires were women, Black or Latino/a/x 
  • Two new products under development through the company’s Innovation for Good incubator and one in the market to help communities access safe water and sanitation, plus a new Abstra tile collection by Kohler WasteLAB that is made from nearly 100% recycled waste materials

“As we continue innovating solutions and accelerating action, we know that any progress we make is the result of the passion and commitment of more than 40,000 Kohler associates around the world,” said Laura Kohler, senior vice president, human resources, stewardship and sustainability. “We believe that when our associates are empowered to find purpose in their work, they truly improve the world and this first ESG report is a reflection of those efforts.”

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Kohler Co.’s 2021 ESG report includes several other notable achievements:

Renewable energy: The company has been investing in solar since 2012 and has onsite solar generation at many of its facilities. In 2021, the company installed a 2.25-megawatt solar field at its headquarters in partnership with Alliant Energy that will provide enough clean energy to power 580 homes per year in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

Conserving water: Kohler has helped people save 437 billion gallons of water through its WaterSense products in the US since 2007 and received its twelfth WaterSense award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 2021, the company introduced a line of whole-home water monitoring and leak detection devices, H2Wise and H2Wise+, in partnership with Phyn, a leader in water-leak detection technology. The system monitors household water usage and provides data and feedback to help families conserve. The system alerts customers to water leaks that not only waste water, but also can lead to water damage. H2Wise+ unit features remote shutoff functionality in the case of a catastrophic leak.

Advocating globally for clean water and safe sanitation: Since 1990, Kohler has positively impacted nearly 16 million lives through initiatives focused on improving access to clean water, safe sanitation, upgraded plumbing, health and well-being services, conservation efforts and more. A flagship initiative, Safe Water for All, leverages Kohler’s expertise to help underserved populations by improving water infrastructure, building water filtration kiosks and bathrooms and in some cases providing entire villages with access to safe water. In 2021, Kohler led eight water impact projects and four bathroom-improvement projects in India and China that impacted more than 9,000 lives.

Expanding DEI support and commitments: Kohler diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs are managed at a senior-management level through the Executive Leadership Diversity Board (ELDB), chaired by the company’s CEO and composed of the Kohler Leadership Team and key senior leaders. In 2021, Kohler launched a diverse supplier program to gather data on spending with diverse suppliers including minority-owned, women-owned, disabled-owned, veteran-owned and small businesses. Kohler also expanded support of educational programs to focus on equality of opportunity and access to education for students at each stage of their development, from K-12 through their transition to the workforce. Kohler partnered with 12 organizations last year, including Howard University, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, College Possible, Boys & Girls Club and others.

The full report is available on KohlerBelievingInBetter.com.

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