L’Oréal USA Invests In Renewable Energy

L’Oréal USA is investing big time in renewable energy. Recently, the company that sells cosmetics and personal care products announced that it will build two solar power projects at its manufacturing facilities in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Florence, Kentucky. The projects will help accelerate the company’s goals to reduce its carbon emissions by 60 percent from a 2005 baseline by 2020. The company has already achieved a 56 percent reduction in carbon emissions from plants and distribution centers since 2005.

The project in Kentucky is the largest commercial solar array in the state at 1.5 megawatts (MW) and the project in Arkansas is the third largest commercial solar array in the state at 1.2 MW. Construction of the solar project in Kentucky, which will consist of 5,000 solar panels, will start late 2016.It is projected to reduce carbon emissions in the state by about 1,195 metric tons a year, which is equivalent to eliminating over 2.8 million miles traveled by passenger cars a year. The Florence, Kentucky plant is 687,000 square feet and manufactures haircare products for the Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, Matrix, and Redken brands. It is the company’s largest manufacturing plant in the U.S. and the largest in the world by tonnage of products produced.

The plant in Arkansas will have 4,000 solar panels and is slated to be in operation by mid-2017. It will reduce carbon emissions in the state by 1,326 metric tons a year, which is equivalent to eliminating almost 3.2 million miles traveled by cars a year. L’Oréal installed a solar panel array at the North Little Rock plant in 2012 and it supplies the equivalent of 100 percent of outdoor lighting needs. The 446,691 square foot factory manufactures cosmetics for brands that include Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Essie and Lancôme.

L’Oréal devised a sustainability strategy in 2011, called Sharing Beauty With All. The solar power projects fall under the “producing sustainably” part of the strategy. L’Oréal USA plays a special role in the strategy as the “largest subsidiary” in the company, Jonathan Maher, Vice President of CSR & Sustainability, L’Oréal USA told Just Means. 

“We have an important manufacturing footprint in the USA,” Maher said. “So, it was always understand that in the global strategy we are a key player, in making sure we would hit the numbers, and hopefully, exceed them. And we have some additional advantages. In some areas around carbon stewardship we were doing things that paved the way for the rest of the group. We had started doing renewable energy projects in the U.S. since 2011, actually before we had launched the larger Sharing Beauty With All strategy."

In 2011, the company installed the first solar power array at its Piscataway, New Jersey manufacturing facility. With the two solar power projects in Kentucky and Arkansas, the company will have 16 solar installations in the U.S. generating a total of 13.5 MW of energy. L’Oréal USA has been recognized for its efforts. It was named one of the top 25 companies for U.S. solar capacity by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA).  The Alliance to Save Energy awarded the company the “Star of Energy Efficiency” award in 2015.

Photo: L’Oréal USA