Kraft Foods' greener offices show small changes get big results

RP news wires
Tags: energy management

From an early age, most of us learned the value of switching off the lights when leaving a room, turning off the water faucet, keeping the refrigerator door tightly closed and walking instead of driving short distances. At Kraft Foods, “greener” office buildings are reinforcing these childhood lessons, making it easier for employees to reduce their environmental impact.

“Sustainability is an important part of our business strategy, and we want our workplaces to be a constant visible reminder to our employees,” said Steve Yucknut, vice president, sustainability. “Our greener offices are inspiring employees to think and act differently at work. And together, we’re changing behavior and getting results.” 

Around the world, Kraft Foods has done the basics – reducing its office buildings’ environmental impact by installing motion-activated lighting and more efficient plumbing fixtures. The company is doing even more by adapting buildings so employees can work more sustainably and be more flexible, productive and mobile. With wireless tools to work at home, on the road or with a customer without being “at the office,” people use less energy in commuting, and there’s less need for office space.

Below are several success stories from Kraft Foods’ offices around the world:

United States: Kraft Foods’ Northfield headquarters recently became ENERGY STAR qualified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is in the top 8 percent of commercial buildings in the country for energy efficiency and uses 33 percent less energy than similar commercial buildings. As a result, it’s less expensive to operate and emits fewer greenhouse gases than its peers. The campus is surrounded by green space and walking trails for employees, and three lakes on site capture rainwater for reuse to handle half of the property’s irrigation needs. The building is even cooled by ice – recycled water is frozen at night, and fans circulate the cool air the ice generates.

Australia: In Melbourne, the company’s new office is a more space- and energy-efficient location that’s strategically located to be walking distance to public transportation and hotels. The office has on-site facilities to encourage employees to bike to work – like bicycle parking, showers, changing rooms and lockers. It even has a rainwater collection system and graywater plant to recycle wastewater for on-site uses like landscape irrigation. The National Australian Built Environment Rating System gave the office 4.5 out of 5 stars by for its environmental performance.

Brazil: Kraft Foods’ Curitiba headquarters reduced its energy consumption nearly 10 percent in 2009 with creative ideas like shutting down some elevators in the evening and using “team cleaning” schedules to minimize lighting use after business hours.  

Canada: Kraft Foods’ Don Mills headquarters 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. Buildings at this level of certification, such as the Don Mills headquarters, typically have been managing energy and environmental performance for several years.

Philippines: Kraft Foods Philippines’ Sucat headquarters now collects rainwater for use in local landscaping and toilet flushing, has skylights to bring natural light into the building and features a green park to encourage employees to spend time outdoors.

Switzerland: Kraft Foods’ Zurich office is called the “Lightcube” for its 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 and meets strict Swiss energy standards. In addition, the Lightcube’s central location lets nearly two-thirds of employees take public transportation to work.

About Kraft Foods
The combination of Kraft Foods and Cadbury creates a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals. With annual revenues of approximately $50 billion, the combined company is the world’s second largest food company, making delicious products for billions of consumers in more than 160 countries. The combined company's portfolio includes 11 iconic brands with revenues exceeding $1 billion – Oreo, Nabisco and LU biscuits; Milka and Cadbury chocolates; Trident gums; Jacobs and Maxwell House coffees; Philadelphia cream cheeses; Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings; and Oscar Mayer meats. Another 70-plus brands generate annual revenues of more than $100 million. 

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