Shiseido uses improved solar power to cut costs
facility to help save the company $100,000 a year, indicating that
financial and environmental goals are not necessarily incompatible.
Japan's largest cosmetics company fitted a 699-kilowatt solar power system from leading supplier SunPower at its East Windsor cosmetics facility. Considered in conjunction with the introduction of energy efficient lighting, Shiseido expects the solar investment to have a dramatic effect on the facility's electricity bill. Since Jimmy Carter unveiled a solar powered heating system at the White House in 1979, the technology has failed to deliver the energy revolution that many expected. However, in recent times solar energy has made something of a comeback with improvements to the efficiency of the technology making its use increasingly viable on a commercial level. Shiseido said that after the initial outlay the company would start making net savings on its solar power system in less than six years time. Reflecting on the solar energy investment, Ed Houlihan, vice president of Shiseido America, said: "We were very interested in using solar energy to power our operations but we needed to know that the economics would also make sense. "The payback period is expected to be less than six years - a solid return on investment for equipment that will last more than 25 years." Shiseido is not the only cosmetics company to search for alternatives to fossil fuels. As oil prices rise and eco-friendly products become more popular, the industry is putting environmental policies into action. Weleda executives told CosmeticsDesign.com that the company intends to go carbon neutral and is already using use solar panels and a water recycling system at its new production facilities. Going green is not just a question of energy use - packaging materials and recycling are also important. Make-up brand Mineralogie yesterday announced that in addition to buying power from a green energy firm and using energy efficient light bulbs, its packaging would be made from recycled paper printed with soy ink. Indeed, several cosmetics packaging manufacturers have brought out bio-degradable ranges in recent weeks as the industry wakes up to the green challenge.