Reducing by Refurbishing

Danby

12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The innovation we chose to focus on is Danby’s Appliance Refurbishment Program. The Appliance Refurbishment Program is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in which Danby takes back appliances that have been returned and refurbishes them to reduce waste and provide lower cost products that can be purchased through their factory outlet store.

Authors

Arman Boroumand

Arman Boroumand

Evan Maaskant

Evan Maaskant

Patrick Colle

Patrick Colle

Joseph Ariss

Joseph Ariss

Antonio Stortz

Antonio Stortz

School

University of Guelph

University of Guelph

Professor

Ruben Burga

Ruben Burga

Innovation

This initiative takes place across North America; Danby operates locations in Arizona, Ohio, and Guelph, Ontario. It also contributes to achieving two key UN Sustainable Development Goals, #12: Responsible Consumption and Production and #13: Climate Action. The decision to launch the Danby Refurbishment Program was made by the board of directors, including CEO Jim Estill, in 2015. It fits neatly into Danby’s overall mission, which is encapsulated by their mantra to “Do the Right Thing.”

The refurbishment program is not CEO Jim Estill’s first foray into the world of CSR and philanthropy. In 2015, Estill put up $1.5 million of his own money to privately sponsor over 200 Syrian refugees. Upon arrival in Canada, they were set up with housing and English lessons, and many got work experience at Danby to help get them on their feet. Many of these new Canadians became the employees who did the work to make this appliance refurbishment a reality. It’s this intersection of CSR initiatives that makes Danby a model of corporate social responsibility.

Reducing by Refurbishing

Inspiration

The Danby Refurbishment Program was initiated by Danby’s board of directors in 2015, and it ties in with the company’s general focus on CSR and doing the right thing.

The purpose behind this innovation is twofold. First, this program reduces the amount of waste going to landfill from Danby products. This motivation will be examined in the Social and Environmental Benefits section. Second, this program reduces Danby’s cost by decreasing how many materials need to be purchased and creating a revenue stream out of materials that would have been discarded. This motivation will be discussed in greater detail in the Business Benefits section.

Danby’s spokesperson, Nick Papple, praised the innovation by saying, “It’s good for the environment, it’s good for our business.” This program has been enormously positive for Danby, as well as the broader social mandate it was created to serve.

Overall impact

This large-scale “reduce, reuse, recycle” innovation has allowed Danby to “reduce 50% of their scrap sent to landfills” by restoring previously owned products into a sellable state. A prime example of this program is their innovative program that removes the refrigeration from used wine coolers and outfits them with grow lights to be turned into herb growers for customers to have in their homes. This not only allows people to produce their own food close to home, but keeps waste out of the landfill. Danby has also completely eliminated styrofoam from refurbished goods packaging, reducing their ecological footprint.

Although waste reduction and sustainability were the main goals for Danby, the reduction of waste has had a positive financial impact on the company. Their innovation immediately decreases business costs and environmental impacts. This has also allowed Danby to create a new product line attracting a potential market of consumers who are aware of their ecological footprint and who are eager to support a company that is benefiting society.

Although statistics on the scale of the program were not available, this initiative has had a positive impact on Danby, the environment, and consumers.

Business benefit

The Appliance Refurbishment Program not only has major positive environmental impacts, but also has resulted in positive benefits to Danby's bottom line. When asked about the Appliance Refurbishment Program, Nick Papple commented, “The program lowers our costs too, not having to have as much packaging. It goes hand in hand.” By completely eliminating styrofoam from its refurbished packaging, Danby has not only taken the styrofoam out of the landfill, but also has reduced packaging costs.

One of the challenges Danby faced was creating the reverse logistics required for the project in-house. Getting products back from consumers directly would be a huge challenge. To overcome this obstacle, Danby formed partnerships with the distributors of their appliances to send them any Danby products that were returned. Once the products are back in the Danby facility, they can get to work refurbishing and selling them through one of their other channels. The in-house reverse logistics has allowed Danby to expand their refurbishment program beyond fixing faulty appliances to give old appliances new life in a different form.

Social and environmental benefit

Danby’s refurbishment program enables the organization to provide a couple of key benefits that are primarily aimed at society as well as the environment. First, considering Danby can cut costs as well as resources by refurbishing returned products, they are able to offer these same products at a reduced selling price. This creates a tremendous sense of value for consumers shopping on a budget, as they can purchase a product at a lowered cost, but still receive the same benefits that a brand-new product would provide. Secondly, the refurbishment program has allowed Danby to reduce their landfill waste by 50%, and the organization has completely eliminated styrofoam from its refurbished packaging.

Danby has successfully implemented an innovation that not only saves them expenses, but also helps save the environment by keeping waste out of landfills. This benefits any consumer who is conscious about their ecological footprint. Lastly, Danby’s CEO, Jim Estill, sponsored more than 200 Syrian refugees in 2015. They were set up with housing and ESL training, and many were employed by Danby to help these families get on their feet. Many of the newly arrived Canadians became a part of the refurbishment program and aided it in becoming a reality.

Interview

Nick Papple, [email protected]

Photo of interviewee

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Danby

Danby

Guelph, ON, CA

Business Website: https://www.danby.com/

Year Founded: 1947

Number of Employees: 501 to 1000

Danby is a family-owned company of 71 years and is the leading refrigeration and specialty appliance brand in North America. Their vision is to create brilliant and inspired appliances designed to fit your space and your every move. Danby has locations across North America, with one of their main locations in Guelph, ON, Canada.