Electric Breeze: P&G Contracts Wind Power for Fabric, Home-Care Plants

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Procter & Gamble Wind Farm

This week, Procter & Gamble added some more visual interest to the landscape in Washington, DC: a lawn full of thousands of spinning pinwheels.

The CPG giant put up a miniature wind farm of pinwheels on the Capitol Hill grounds to promote its new agreement to purchase enough electricity from a wind farm in Texas to power all of its fabric and home-care plants in North America—products that comprise a quarter of the company’s net earnings and a unit that is its largest division by sales.

That includes such iconic P&G brands as Tide, Gain, Downy, Mr. Clean and Febreze.

The global titan is teaming up with EDF Renewable Energy to build a wind farm in Texas that will put more than enough power into the nation’s energy grid that it would power all of the unit’s manufacturing facilities in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Ohio. The Cooke County farm, which is supposed to open in late 2016, will produce 370,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, while the P&G plants at issue use about 300,000 megawatt-hours combined each year.

Procter & Gamble Wind Farm

“We know we’re going to be consuming less than we’re putting into the grid,” Shailesh Jejurikar, president of P&G’s North American fabric care division, told the New York Times

Wind power, of course, remains notoriously problematic because of factors including natural variability in blowiness. But Texas and its plains have become the nation’s leading producers of wind power, followed by California and Iowa.

The effort “represents an opportunity for P&G to garner goodwill with environmentally conscious consumers at a time when personal care companies are under more pressure than ever to respond to their concerns,” as the Times put it.

“More and more, we find a very large number—call it two-thirds of consumers—looking to make some kind of contribution in the space, and hopefully not making tradeoffs in value or performance” in the products they purchase as a result, Jejurikar told the newspaper.

The initiative followed moves by P&G and 80 other companies recently to commit to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company has promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020.

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