L’Oréal to build solar installation in Kentucky

L’Oréal's solar installation in Kentucky will cut carbon footprint

The world’s largest beauty company is making a strong move on sustainability in the heart of coal country. L’Oréal is on track to build the largest private solar facility in the state’s history.

Behind only Wyoming and West Virginia, Kentucky is a top coal mining state, producing over 61 million short tons last year alone, according to the US Energy Information Administration. “Given the prevalence and importance of coal mining in the Bluegrass State, the [L’Oréal] venture is bold,” writes Fatima Hussein in her item about the initiative on cincinnati.com.

While that’s true, Kentucky isn’t only about energy from coal. The EIA’s 2015 profile of the state points to an “increasing amounts of customer-sited solar photovoltaic capacity [being] installed across Kentucky,” as well as the state being “home to the nation's first net-zero energy public school.”

Here comes the sun

And so it is that at the company’s Florence, Kentucky, manufacturing facility L’Oréal is gearing up to build a solar installation that will power the whole plant and greatly reduce the cosmetic maker’s carbon footprint overall.

Once up and running, the solar panel installation will generate as much as 1.5 megawatts of electricity each year, reports Hussein. “It will require a significant amount of work on our part,” Eric Wolff, the company’s vice president of manufacturing operations tells her, adding that “the value of sustainability, from a L’Oréal standpoint, is non-negotiable.”

Planning ahead

This latest solar project is part of L’Oréal’s Sharing Beauty with All strategy. Explaining that initiative to Cosmetics Design earlier this year, Jonathan Maher, the company’s vice president of CSR and sustainability said, “as the largest beauty company in the world, it is incumbent on us to have a far-sighted and comprehensive approach to sustainability, one that will ultimately transform the way beauty and personal care products are designed and manufactured worldwide.”

The Sharing Beauty with All strategy set numerous goals for the company to reach by the year 2020, a vision benchmark year for many corporations. For instance, L’Oréal aims to better the environmental profile of every one of its products by 2020; and intends to reduce its total carbon footprint by 60%.

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