Kraft Foods Yields Big Savings from Small Environmental Changes in Global Offices

by | Mar 11, 2010

KraftNorthfieldHQBy making, in some cases, small changes to add efficiency its offices including the installation of motion-activated lighting and more efficient plumbing fixtures, and encouraging its employees to be more sustainable, Kraft Foods says it has achieved some big results around the globe.

As an example, Kraft Foods’ Curitiba, Brazil, headquarters reduced its energy consumption nearly 10 percent in 2009 by just shutting down some elevators in the evening and using “team cleaning” schedules to reduce lighting use after business hours.

The Philippines’ Sucat headquarters also has made some small retrofits such as collecting rainwater for use in local landscaping and toilet flushing, adding skylights to bring natural light into the building and building a green park for its employees.

Some of the company’s largest energy-efficient projects include Kraft’s Northfield headquarters, which recently became Energy Star qualified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The building is ranked in the top 8 percent of commercial buildings in the country for energy efficiency and uses 33 percent less energy than similar commercial buildings, which means it costs less to operate and emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

In Melbourne, Australia, the company’s new space- and energy-efficient office is walking distance to public transportation and hotels. Sustainable features include rainwater collection system and graywater plant to recycle wastewater for on-site uses like landscape irrigation, which contributed to its 4.5 out of 5.0 stars for environmental performance from the National Australian Built Environment Rating System.

Kraft Foods’ Don Mills headquarters in Canada is Level 3 certified by BOMA BESt, Canada’s national environmental certification program for commercial buildings, placing it in the top 20 percent of scores for certification.

The Zurich “Lightcube” office features extensive use of glass, automated window shades and a built-in weather station that regulates heating, cooling and ventilation. The building uses 50 percent less energy for lighting and 60 percent less energy for ventilation than conventional buildings. In addition, the building’s central location allows nearly two-thirds of employees to take public transportation to work.

Water conservation is also a big focus for the foods manufacturer. The company reduced its water consumption in manufacturing processes globally by 21 percent, or by more than 3 billion gallons over the past three years, exceeding its goal two years early.

In addition to greening its offices, Kraft is reducing the amount of packaging used in its supply chain. In January, Kraft achieved its goal of reducing 150 million pounds of material from its supply chain two years ahead of schedule.

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