Energy consumption around the world continues to rise. In fact, it’s expected to grow by nearly 50% by 2040. That’s why as far back as 2001, SC Johnson was working to add new sources into our renewable energy mix. To safeguard the planet, reduce our footprint, and keep costs down, we knew alternate sources of energy would be a valuable investment.
Now, more than 15 years later, we have 10 renewable energy initiatives around the world, employing the use of wind energy, solar, waste palm shells, rice husks, and even garbage. Today, a third of our global energy use comes from renewable sources.
Wind energy is SC Johnson’s biggest renewable energy investment. As of 2019, three of our manufacturing sites run on 100% wind energy – those in Bay City, Michigan; Mijdrecht, Netherlands; and Gorzow, Poland. Two other sites, in the United States and Mexico, get a portion of their power from wind.
In 2009, we powered up our first company-owned wind turbine at Mijdrecht, which is home to our largest European manufacturing site, known as Europlant. The 80-meter tall turbine generates about half the energy needed to run the three million square foot-site, while the remaining energy is purchased wind power.
And, about that garbage. We weren’t kidding. At our largest global manufacturing facility, Waxdale, a cogeneration system uses waste methane gas from a nearby public landfill to generate part of the facility’s electrical energy. A second cogeneration system uses clean-burning natural gas. Together, the two supply about 85% of Waxdale’s energy needs.
The other energy source at Waxdale is a pair of that powered up in 2012. They now produce about 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year – enough to power 700 homes – and supplies 10-15% of Waxdale’s electricity.
While the use of wind energy is a major focus of our renewable energy efforts, we use other technologies too.
In Surabaya, Indonesia, we launched a biofuel program in 2012 using waste rice husks. These are used as a fuel source for heating water used in mosquito coil production. This biofuel initiatives in Indonesia cut more than 7,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually due to the fossil fuel use we avoid.
Also, solar projects in China, Indonesia, India and Mexico help provide hot water heating for company operations, including aerosol production and quality control processes.
Our pursuit of renewable energy solutions is far from over, but we’re always grateful to receive recognition for the progress we’ve made so far. In 2018, we were recognized with the Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management Goal Setting. It was our fourth Climate Leadership Award for GHG management.