MINNEAPOLIS — Plant-based food and beverage manufacturer SunOpta, Inc. said the company’s US headquarters and innovation center in Eden Prairie, Minn., will self-source two-thirds of its annual electricity requirements from on-site solar panels. SunOpta’s 742 panels occupy 36,000 square feet of the headquarters’ roof and are estimated to produce up to 447,667 kilowatt hours (kWh) on an annual basis.
In the company’s 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance report, SunOpta outlined its plan to reduce electricity usage in its facilities by 40% and natural gas usage by 30% in the coming years.
“As a producer of plant-based food and beverages, sustainability is at the heart of who we are,” said Joe Ennen, chief executive officer of SunOpta. “Solar is a triple win for us: A win for the environment, a win for the community as we use fewer public utilities and a win for the business, as solar delivers long-term cost savings. As we drive sales growth toward $2 billion by 2030, it’s important we do so as sustainably as possible, and our recent investment in solar is one of many ESG proof points.”
The conversion to solar power will reduce up to 317 tonnes of the facility’s carbon dioxide (CO2) output per year, according to the company. For comparison, the amount of power generated by the solar panels is enough to power 40 homes for a year or power a household refrigerator for 4.5 million hours.The company also is working toward a zero-waste-to-landfill program across all its manufacturing and corporate facilities. Thus far, six manufacturing sites have achieved this goal and two other facilities are awaiting third-party inspection and validation.