LG Electronics USA to Cut Carbon Footprint in Half by 2020

LG Electronics USA to Cut Carbon Footprint in Half by 2020

Image CC licensed by Flickr user LGEPR

The North American arm of LG Electronics plans to halve its carbon footprint by 2020.

LG Electronics USA said today the company would use 2007 emissions levels as the baseline for the 50 percent reduction, which would largely revolve around its energy use. Its operations consume roughly 19.4 million kilowatt hours each year.

In a statement announcing the plan, LG Electronics USA offered a glimpse into how the company would achieve this aggressive goal. Energy management figures prominently in its strategy, such as optimizing its energy management systems,  and it also plans to boost efficiency by targeting its HVAC, lighting and data centers.

Green power will also play a significant role through LG's purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). In October, the company partnered with Blue Star Energy Solutions to buy RECs for its Englewood Cliffs, N.J., headquarters (a 50-50 split between wind and biomass sources), the company said in an email. Eventually LG Electronics USA plans to use its own LG solar panels at some locations.

LG Electronics also will target its workforce to bring them on-board for the long-term initiative, in much the same way as it has engaged workers in the past to recycle cell phone batteries and various paper products. A big education push will cover topics such as saving energy, low-carbon transportation, recycling and cutting waste. The company is banking that this focus on employee engagement will keep the cost of reaching its 2020 climate goal low.

"The investment plans are relatively modest at this time as most of the reduction will be coming from employee activity and action," the company said in an email. "A very detailed plan of action for employees is currently underway, which will include ways to reduce energy consumption both LG offices as well as personal reduction goals at home."

It's a big commitment made on the opening day of the U.N. climate change negotiations taking place in Durban, South Africa. LG Electronics USA's target is more stringent than its South Korean-based parent company, which plans to reduce its emissions by 10 percent by 2020, relative to a 2008 baseline.

But it does fall in line with LG's overarching sustainability strategy called "Green New Business." LG revealed in September its intent to spend $6.7 billion on green businesses by 2015, including electric car batteries, LED lighting, and water treatment and solar technologies. Next year, some LG products, including TVs and refrigerators, will begin sporting the CarbonFree logo denoting that LG is reducing or offsetting the product's life cycle emissions.

[Editor's note: This is an updated article that adds statements from LG Electronics USA.]

Image CC licensed by Flickr user LGEPR.