Abbott Takes Fleet Carbon Neutral, Installs Solar Power

Illinois, USA — Global health care company Abbott announced Wednesday its plans to turn more than 6,000 of its vehicles carbon neutral and install a 500-kilowatt hour solar power system.

Abbott touts itself as the first FORTUNE 500 company to transform its U.S. fleet of company sales vehicles carbon neutral. The fleet of more than 6,000 represents nearly 11 percent of Abbott’s total emissions.

When the vehicle leases are up, sales representatives will have a hybrid vehicle option, said Spokeswoman Ann Fahey-Widman. Carbon offsets will neutralize the balance.

“It’s a significant investment purchasing the carbon offset,” Fahey-Widman told GreenBiz Wednesday. “Because of the gas savings, the hybrid offering is not something that would be a significant cost.”

Sales vehicles are driven nearly twice as much as personal vehicles, she said, making the move the equivalent of taking more than 12,000 cars off the road.

Abbott also plans to install a 500-kilowatt hour solar system in Temecula, Calif. The company’s first U.S. solar panel endeavor, it will produce, in part, electricity for its vascular plant.

“It’s going to be twice the size of the largest solar power system in Texas,” Fahey-Widman said.

Abbott announced its new Global Energy Policy Wednesday at an environmental summit. Other plans include a 12 percent reduction in overall energy purchased and a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions, both by 2011 and normalized by sales.

It also plans to cut 12 percent of combined fuel/coal consumption by 2011 by switching to cleaner fuels. It plans to invest in renewable energy capital projects that produce no carbon emissions at major manufacturing locations by 2011.

“Our responsibility to the communities where we work and live goes beyond producing innovative products that improve health — to how we make our products and operate our business,” said Abbott CEO Miles D. White.

Abbott is part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and a member of EPA Climate Leaders.

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