Fatima Hussein, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the country's third largest coal mining state, one Northern Kentucky company has plans to cut out its carbon footprint by more than half.
L’Oréal USA announced it will build two large-scale solar projects at the company’s largest U.S. manufacturing facility in Florence, and the other in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The goal is to eliminate carbon emissions linked to global warming.
The project is part of the French-based cosmetics firm's global sustainability strategy, with an aim to reduce energy consumption in product development and manufacturing.
"As a leader in the industry, it's important to demonstrate our leadership, as well as concern for safety of the environment" said Richard Jones, senior vice president of U.S. manufacturing for L'Oreal. Jones, who previously managed the Florence plant, spoke to The Enquirer about the size of the project.
The project in Florence will be the largest commercial solar array in Kentucky, he said, and the project in North Little Rock will be the third largest commercial array in Arkansas.
The array at the Florence plant, installed by Little Rock-based Scenic Hill Solar, can produce 1.5 megawatts – enough to power 246 houses, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Part of the plan is having the project completely American-made. L’Oréal USA 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.
Construction of the Florence project will start in late 2016 and will consist of approximately 5,000 solar panels, Jones said. The array is projected to cut carbon dioxide emissions in Kentucky by approximately 1,195 metric tons per year. The cut is equivalent to eliminating over 2.8 million miles traveled by passenger cars per year, according to EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies.
“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 pcommercial renewable energies in Kentucky.”
Company officials declined to disclose the cost of the project.
The 687,000 square-foot plant, where haircare products are made for the Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, Matrix, and Redken brands, is L'Oreal's largest manufacturing site in the U.S. and its largest worldwide by tonnage of products produced.
L’Oréal USA operated in Kentucky for more than 25 years and now has over 400 employees. In 2012, the company invested $42 million to expand its production facility in Florence, with plans to create 211 jobs.
North Little Rock's 446,691 square-foot factory has operated in the state for over forty years, produces brands including Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Essie and Lancôme.
L’Oréal is the fourth largest industrial employer in the Greater Little Rock area and the plant has nearly 500 employees.
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 Industries Association.
The company’s commitment to solar began in 2011 with an installation at its Piscataway, New Jersey manufacturing facility. L’Oréal USA will now have 16 solar installations across the country generating a total of 13.5 megawatts of energy.
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