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Estée Lauder Companies achieves net zero emissions with wind and solar procurements

This week, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) announced that it has achieved net zero emissions and sourced 100% renewable electricity globally for its direct operations, reaching the target it set when it joined RE100. RE100 is a global initiative the seeks to bring corporations together to pledge to meet 100 percent of their electricity with clean energy and set other sustainability goals.  

Building upon this achievement, the company has also met its goal to set science-based emissions reduction targets for its direct operations and value chain.

To achieve its goals by 2020, ELC focused first on reducing its operational carbon footprint by deploying solutions and investing in projects bringing additional renewable energy to the grid. The portfolio approach includes signing a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) for 22 megawatts (MW) of wind power from the Ponderosa wind farm in Oklahoma, sealing the company’s largest renewable energy agreement to-date. The Ponderosa wind farm alone will cover more than half of the company’s electricity footprint with renewable energy technologies.

Related: Wind is America’s largest renewable energy provider and top choice for utility-scale, says AWEA

ELC also installed ground-mount and rooftop on-site solar arrays at its facilities around the world, bringing the company’s global total to more than 5 MW of solar capacity. In markets where ELC operations have a comparatively smaller carbon footprint, the company procured renewable energy certificates (RECs) or their international equivalent to support local renewable energy generation. To address any remaining annual emissions from operations, ELC purchased offsets from the Massachusetts Tri-City Forestry project in North America, which protects 6,500 acres of public forestland from significant commercial timber harvesting and ensures long-term sustainable management of the forest.

“Today’s announcement signals a new level of ambition and dedication to climate action for The Estée Lauder Companies. Setting ambitious targets in line with the latest climate science is testament to our values and commitment to managing our business for the long term,” said Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Estée Lauder Companies. “In this decisive decade for climate action, we will continue to accelerate efforts to ensure a healthy, beautiful planet for generations to come.”

Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, the Climate Group, said, “We congratulate The Estée Lauder Companies on their fantastic work to switch to renewable electricity globally. When large companies like The Estée Lauder Companies set their sights on an ambitious target, they can achieve huge change at a rapid pace. This is exactly the sort of leadership we need to see in the climate decade, as we work to halve global emissions.”

To take on the broader scope of addressing carbon impacts beyond its direct operations, ELC will build on its successes and learnings from achieving Net Zero and RE100. In doing so, the company intends to implement integrated solutions and foster joint value creation with supply chain partners and third-party manufacturers.

“The Estée Lauder Companies has been deeply committed to climate action for many years and, in 2020, we not only stayed true to our commitments, but took steps to further accelerate progress. At such a critical time for our planet and communities around the world, we know this work is more important than ever,” said Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability of The Estée Lauder Companies. “The events of this year have only underscored the urgency and imperative of climate action and we’re committed to doing our part, collaborating with partners to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

For more information on ELC’s commitments and targets on climate, visit the fiscal year 2020 Citizenship and Sustainability Report.