Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is throwing money to the wind.
The jeans goliath has joined Walmart Inc., other key Walmart suppliers and Schneider Electric in the Gigaton Power Purchasing Agreement, a buy-in-advance renewable energy purchase that will aid the long-term viability of Ørsted’s new Sunflower Wind Farm in Marion County, Kan.
The agreement, a first-of-its-kind initiative, allows the participants to purchase an upfront percentage of the renewable energy that will be produced by the Sunflower Wind Farm over the next 12 years, which equals approximately 250,000 megawatt-hours of wind power annually. The energy will cover the majority of LS&Co.’s electricity needs for its owned-and-operated facilities in the U.S. and Canada for 12 years, beginning in 2024, and help it achieve its long-term energy goals to reduce emissions, which are outlined in its recently released sustainability report.
These aims include reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 90 percent by 2025 and using 100 percent renewable electricity in all company-operated facilities by that same year. Greenhouse gas emissions from its company-operated activities generally fall into the Scope 1 and 2 emissions categories and, collectively, make up less than 1 percent of its global carbon footprint and 85 percent of the energy it currently uses at its own facilities is renewable.
“The Sunflower Wind Farm and the GPPA serve as reminders that innovative solutions are available to help companies like LS&Co.–and many others–make progress toward our climate goals,” said Jeffrey Hogue, LS&Co.’s chief sustainability officer. “While our Scope 1 and 2 emissions make up a small portion our overall carbon footprint, it’s critical we continue to leverage creative solutions to achieve our goal in our company-operated facilities.”
“[The agreement] is also an indication of how partnerships are critical to making real progress on initiatives designed to reduce emissions and slow climate change,” the company said on its blog Unzipped.
“By working together with other companies on this project, our collective purchasing power is creating a pathway for clean energy,” added Pavan Pamidimarri, senior vice president of finance for operations and sourcing at LS&Co. “This agreement will not only bring an energy alternative to market; it also enables LS&Co. to make an investment that delivers on our commitment to meeting our own goals for renewable energy use in our company-operated facilities.”
Sunflower Wind Farm is estimated to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 96,000 homes annually and is expected to be operational for 30 years.
According to Ørsted, which builds and maintains on- and offshore wind farms, solar farms and bioenergy plants, in 2019 the U.S. wind industry supported 120,000 jobs across all 50 states including more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in Kansas.