Plant-based foods provider installs rooftop solar on headquarters


SunOpta, a sustainability-focused plant-based food and drink provider, announced it installed rooftop solar project to serve two-thirds of its electricity needs at its headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

The 742-panel project will occupy 36,000 square feet of rooftop space, producing an estimated 447,667 kWh in its first year of operations. This is estimated to offset 317 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually for the food provider.

SunOpta made other energy efficiency and sustainability upgrades to its building, including adding nearly 13,000 square feet of renewable bamboo flooring, 920 LED light fixtures, 630 plantings, six indoor trees, a living plant wall to welcome nature into the building and six skylights, five outdoor garden planters for employees to grow organic produce and four electric vehicle charging stations.

“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.

The company has a strategy to reduce its electricity use by 40%, natural gas use by 30%, and water consumption by 25% by 2028. Electricity usage in its U.S. and Canada plant facilities has already been reduced by 32% since its baseline year of 2019. The company is also pursuing zero-waste-to-landfill at its manufacturing facilities. Six of its facilities have reached this status, with two more pending third-party verification.

The output of SunOpta’s new solar array is roughly equivalent to powering 40 homes for a year.

“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.”

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