Minnesota-based food and beverage company SunOpta wants more sun in its operations. The company has installed a new rooftop solar array at its U.S. headquarters and innovation center in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, which will provide up to two-thirds of SunOpta’s annual energy needs.
SunOpta’s 742 solar panels, which occupy 36,000 square-feet of its roof, are estimated to produce up to 447,667 kWh on an annual basis.
Energy management is an important pillar of SunOpta’s company-wide sustainability goals. The addition of renewable energy use at its headquarters aligns with SunOpta’s strategy to reduce its electricity footprint in its own plant facilities by 40% and natural gas by 30% as outlined in its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report. In 2022, SunOpta reduced electricity usage in its own U.S. and Canadian plant facilities by 31.7% from its baseline year in 2019.
“As a producer of plant-based food and beverages, sustainability is at the heart of who we are,” said Joe Ennen, CEO 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 towards $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 company is also working to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill at its manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters. Six of its manufacturing facilities have already achieved this status and two others are awaiting third-party validation.
Founded nearly 50 years ago, SunOpta manufactures natural, organic and specialty products sold through retail and foodservice channels. The company operates as a manufacturer for leading natural and private label brands, and also proudly produces its own brands, including Sown, Dream, West Life and Sunrise Growers.
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