Chanel Is Pledging $35 Million for Solar Power for Low-Income Communities in California – Vogue

Solar power, on the other hand, can significantly reduce reliance on gas-fired power, especially in the summer months, and is unequivocally better for the planet. California already generates more solar power than any other state, but it relies on “replacement power” borrowed from other states in the form of gas to make up for the loss of solar power at night. The blackouts can be partly attributed to a shortage of that replacement power, but California is unwavering in its commitment to clean energy and hopes to eventually phase out fossil fuels entirely. As its utilities commission wrote to Governor Gavin Newsom: “Clean energy and reliable energy are not contradictory goals.”

Doubling down on solar feels particularly urgent in light of the state’s ongoing wildfires, which have burned through more than 2 million acres. The fires were caused by a combination of factors—downed power lines, ongoing fire suppression, and human activity (i.e., that gender-reveal party)—but climate change plays a significant role, and solar power is one of the key solutions. It’s all connected: We burn fossil fuels like coal and oil, which release CO2 emissions (manufacturing, air travel, shipping, and livestock contribute the highest emissions), which are then trapped in the atmosphere. Trapped CO2 warms the planet and leads to the record-breaking temperatures we’ve seen in California and other parts of the world. Those higher temperatures dry out the shrubs, grasses, and dead leaves in the forests, which are more prone to catch fire; a single spark can ignite a full-blown disaster.

The importance of clean energy can’t be overstated, but it isn’t like flipping a switch. A big part of Chanel’s initiative is making solar power available and affordable to everyone. While monthly energy bills are lower with solar, the initial cost of installing the solar system is significant; depending on the size of your home, it can be in the thousands. “Chanel strives for [excellence] in everything we create, the impact we have on our society, and our world at large,” Chanel’s president and chief operating officer, John Galantic, wrote in a release. “This innovative partnership reflects the deep commitment of our house to reduce our impact on the environment, while also creating a positive social impact through an inclusive approach that will provide families with access to clean affordable power and the creation of jobs.”

“Chanel’s investment will help disadvantaged communities gain access to clean, reliable solar energy,” adds Lynn Jurich, cofounder and chief executive officer of Sunrun. “This innovative approach to corporate social responsibility will make an impact today and hopefully become a model for other companies to invest in our planet’s future.”

The initiative is part of Chanel’s new climate strategy, Mission 1.5°C, which lays out a plan for reducing the brand’s carbon emissions across its entire value chain and to “accelerate the transition to a more sustainable world.” For the emissions it can’t reduce—an inevitability when you’re creating new products—Chanel has pledged to invest in nature-based solutions, like forest and mangrove restoration, which aid in carbon sequestration. As a colleague pointed out, perhaps Chanel’s next move will be to integrate all of this into a campaign or show; instead of the mansard roofs of spring 2020, for instance, we’ll see models walking along California rooftops lined with solar panels. A girl can dream!

Source: https://www.vogue.com/article/chanel-sunrun-solar-power-clean-energy-initiative-california

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