International kitchen appliance manufacturer, Whirlpool Corporation, has announced the launch of its inaugural Whirlpool Purposeful Innovation competition, a sustainability-led challenge which will task secondary school students with re-designing a popular appliance to be more environmentally friendly.

Completely free to enter, Whirlpool Purposeful Innovation is open to all secondary schools in the areas surrounding Whirlpool’s Peterborough headquarters, including Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Bedford, Rutland and Lincolnshire. Students from Years 7-9 are invited to participate in teams of up to five.

The competition aims to inspire the next generation of engineers, while showcasing the innovation of young people when it comes to creating a more sustainable future. As well as developing their design and engineering skills, participating students will have the opportunity to win a range of exciting prizes. The winning team will be invited for an exclusive tour of Whirlpool’s factory in Yate and will receive a new kitchen appliance of choice for both their school and each of the five team members’ homes. Runners up will also win a tour of Whirlpool’s Yate factory.

While registration for the competition is currently open, Whirlpool Purposeful Innovation will officially kick-off with an event hosted at Whirlpool’s Peterborough headquarters on Wednesday 20th April, during which teams will find out more about the competition and will be given live demonstrations of how a tumble dryer, washing machine and fridge/freezer is designed and built.

Teams will then have eight weeks to re-design one of the appliances to either reduce the overall environmental impact of its production, to reduce the energy or water consumption of the product, or to reduce food waste, and to develop a proposal for how their new appliance will work and look.

At the end of the eight weeks, teams will head back to Whirlpool’s headquarters to present their proposals to a panel of judges. As well as an overall winner being selected, prizes will be awarded for a range of other skills demonstrated during the competition: teamwork, creativity, sustainable innovation and ingenuity.

Ian Moverley, Communications Director, Whirlpool Corporation, commented: “At Whirlpool, our mission is to create innovations that improve people’s lives at home, and this includes taking care of the planet. In a recent study of more than 19,000 people across 10 countries, we explored what people are looking for in appliance innovation and found that consumers truly value innovations that that use less energy (40 percent) and have a lower carbon footprint (35 percent). People want to reduce their environmental impact, and it’s our responsibility to help them to do so through the design of their appliances.

“Young people have some of the most creative and inspiring ideas, so why wouldn’t we want their input into how we can continue to improve the environmental impact of our products? We want to recognise the vast potential of young people in our local area and so, through Whirlpool Purposeful Innovation, as well as hopefully generating some innovative new ideas, we aim to provide students with an insight into the world of engineering and design – helping them to realise their potential and inspiring the next generation of sustainable engineers in our local area.”

In addition to its new sustainability competition, Whirlpool Corporation has also launched its annual sustainability report where it issues an update on progress towards achieving the 2030 Net Zero targets that the Company first announced in May of 2021. As part of this update, Whirlpool Corporation—building on its long history of climate action—is accelerating its commitment to sustainable operations through investments in renewable energy, manufacturing plant retrofits and on-going energy, water, and waste reduction projects. In 2021 the company drove a 27 percent reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, for all Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions compared to a 2016 baseline.

To register for Whirlpool Purposeful Innovation, please email Joanna Colley by Monday 24th March.