As Climate Week NYC kicks off, its opening ceremony sponsor L’Oréal Group announced on Monday that all of its U.S. facilities are now carbon-neutral.
According to the company, its 25 U.S. sites have reached carbon neutrality for “scope 1,” or the company’s own direct emissions, and “scope 2,” or indirect emissions. The effort included taking multiple measures, including launching energy-saving initiatives and direct renewable energy projects, earning renewable energy certificates, and using solar power and natural gas. The initiative is part of the company’s stated goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in scope 1, 2 and 3 (emissions in other parts of the supply chain) by 25% by 2030, and to become a net-zero company by 2050 with a transition to 100% renewable energy.
“The next step is to drive that consumer awareness,” said Danielle Azoulay, head of CSR & Sustainability at L’Oréal USA. “Regardless of whether or not our consumers are demanding it, we’re doing it, as [we’re] the largest beauty company in the world.”
Beauty brands are speaking up en masse during Climate Week, which is taking place from September 20-26 and runs every year alongside the UN General Assembly. On Tuesday, over 100 beauty brands posted online in support of the CodeRed4Climate campaign.
For energy optimization, L’Oreal Group joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants program in 2016. It used the DOE’s performance measurement tools, energy analytics and experts to find new energy-saving policies such as switching to LED lights and equipment such as high-efficiency air compressors and vacuum pumps.
At its U.S. facilities for manufacturing, distribution, administration, research and innovation, the company has installed over 50,000 solar panels, totaling 57 miles if lined up. At its largest U.S. site, the Florence Haircare manufacturing facility in Kentucky, over 4,000 solar panels provide 1.4 megawatts of power for its 686,000 square-foot plant. It uses 3,600 solar panels for 1.2 megawatts of energy at its 450,000 square-foot factory in Arkansas.
“The energy intensity of factories is so much higher in volume than we would use in our office buildings or in our homes,” said Azoulay.
The company also purchases renewable energy certificates (RECs) for wind, hydro and solar power projects in California, Florida and New York, near its facilities.
“We use renewable energy credits as the offset mechanism,” said Azoulay. “You hear a lot of negative things about offsets” due to transparency issues, she said. “Those are not the kind of offsets that we use. We are first and foremost reducing and optimizing our energy consumption.”