L’Oréal USA to Exceed Carbon Emission Reduction Goals Through Two Major Solar Energy Projects in Kentucky and Arkansas
L’Oréal USA recently announced it will exceed its carbon emission reduction goals and build two large-scale solar projects at the company’s manufacturing facilities in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Florence, Kentucky as part of its global sustainability strategy Sharing Beauty with All. The two projects – among the largest in each state – represent an acceleration of the company’s original goals to reduce its CO2 emissions by 60 percent from its 2005 baseline. L’Oréal USA will achieve an 80 percent reduction, and plans to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity for its manufacturing in the United States through the projects and the purchase of additional, locally-sourced renewable energy certificates (RECs). The project in Florence will be the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky and the project in North Little Rock will be the third largest commercial array in Arkansas.
“Reducing our CO2 emissions by 80% and achieving 100% renewable electricity for our U.S. manufacturing is a major milestone for L’Oréal USA,” said Fréderic Rozé, CEO of L’Oréal Americas. “The achievement is a testament to our passionate, creative and innovative teams who have pushed us to go beyond our original ambitions. We are committed to being a sustainability leader in the United States and are proud of the progress we have made.” The Florence plant, in partnership with Scenic Hill Solar, will house the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky at 1.5 MW. Construction of the Florence project will start in late 2016 and will consist of approximately 5,000 solar panels. The array is projected to cut CO2 emissions in Kentucky by approximately 1,195 metric tons per year, equivalent to eliminating over 2.8 million miles traveled by passenger cars per year, according to EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies.
The 687,000 sq. ft. plant, where haircare products are made for the Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, Matrix, and Redken brands, is the company’s largest manufacturing site in the U.S. and its largest worldwide by tonnage of products produced. L’Oréal USA has been operational in Kentucky for more than 25 years and now has over 400 employees. “With this project, our facility becomes an emblem of sustainable manufacturing,” said Eric Wolff, L’Oréal’s Florence Plant Manager. “We’re proud to be leading the way for commercial renewable energies in Kentucky.”
The North Little Rock plant, also in partnership with Scenic Hill Solar, will house a 1.2 MW array that will be the third largest commercial solar array and the fourth largest solar project in Arkansas. The 4,000 solar panel installation in North Little Rock is scheduled to be operational by mid-2017 and will reduce carbon emissions in Arkansas by 1,326 metric tons per year, equivalent to eliminating nearly 3.2 million miles traveled by passenger cars per year, according to EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies. L’Oréal first installed a solar array at its North Little Rock plant in 2012, which now supplies the equivalent of 100 percent of its outdoor lighting needs (18,000 kWh/year).
The 446,691 sq. ft. factory has operated in the state for over four decades, and is home to cosmetics production for brands including Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Essie and Lancôme. L’Oréal is the fourth largest industrial employer in the Greater Little Rock area and this plant has nearly 500 employees. “We are very excited to continue on our site’s sustainability journey,” said Eric Fox, L’Oréal’s North Little Rock Plant Manager. “This next phase of our on-site solar installation not only paves the way for expanded low-carbon manufacturing, but also can serve as a catalyst for continued investment in renewable energy technology in the Natural State.”
“We are delighted to partner with L’Oréal, a demonstrated sustainability leader, and help them to simultaneously meet their bold goals for clean, renewable energy and reduce their electricity costs,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “We commend L’Oréal on their continued global leadership in sustainability and are honored to partner with them.” Nationwide, L’Oréal USA has been a long-time leader in solar energy, having been named as one of the top 25 companies for U.S. solar capacity by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). The company’s commitment to solar began in 2011 with an installation at its Piscataway, New Jersey manufacturing facility. With today’s announcement, L’Oréal USA will now boast 16 solar installations across the country generating a total of 13.5 MW of energy.
In addition, L’Oréal USA has been an Energy Star Partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1996 and recently joined the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. The company was awarded the “Star of Energy Efficiency” award by the Alliance to Save Energy in 2015, and became a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Partnership that same year. The company was also a signee of the White House American Business Act on Climate Pledge in 2015 and the CERES Climate Declaration in 2013.