Mars Wrigley – the maker of Big G, PK, Double-mint, Juicy Fruit and Orbit chewing gum brands – officially commissioned its new Kenyan factory last year in Athi River, Machakos County. The new factory built at a cost of $70 million (Sh7 billion) has incorporated green features like biomass boiler, energy efficient equipment and a waste water treatment plant.
Its construction saw the firm’s old plant in Nairobi’s Industrial Area set up in 1971 decommissioned.
The new factory became the first manufacturing plant in Kenya to receive the US-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
It earned the Gold standard for running its operations with a bare minimum carbon footprint to the environment.
The LEED is a prestigious rating for buildings that have employed innovative environmentally-friendly features in their designs and is issued by the US Green Building Council.
The award was widely seen as a testament to Mars Wrigley’s quest for sustainability excellence.
One year later since the commissioning, we caught up with the firm’s executives to shed light on the benefits experienced with the sustainable factory.
Here are the excerpts:
One year later, how much savings has Mars Wrigley made in energy costs as a result of sustainable operations at the Machakos factory?
In 2019, we saved 3,620 gigajoules (GJ) thanks to the different initiatives we are taking on the site. To ensure that we sustain this, we have constituted an energy strategy team that meets every month. During these meetings, which also have representation from finance, we discuss the previous month’s performance and review ongoing energy related initiatives.
Of what benefit is Wrigley’s green behaviour to its customers, stakeholders across the chain and employees?
Consumers today have a broader perspective due to the exposure that comes with technology, media and affordable international travel. This has affected purchase decisions for many products, with a growing body of research indicating that more and more consumers are asking themselves what buying a product from a particular company means for the planet, its people and future generations.
Taking a firm stand on sustainability is also key to attracting and retaining world class talent, as professionals today measure a job not only in terms of pay, but also in terms of impact. Globally, Mars Wrigley has routinely featured as one the best employers in numerous rankings, including the prestigious Fortune 100
Among the ecofriendly features you have installed in the Machakos factory is waste water treatment plant, biomass boiler and energy efficient equipment.
How do these components work and the associated benefits?
The factory uses a biomass boiler for 100 percent of the steam used to power process equipment.
We also rely on solar power for water heating.
We’re soon operationalizing our waste water treatment plant, which will significantly enhance water efficiency by recycling 100 percent of the water used in the cooling towers. We use 80 cubic metres per day and 100 percent will be recycled once the plant is fully operational
Besides the waste water treatment plant, Mars Wrigley makes 40.91 percent water usage reduction with the help of water efficient flow and flush fixtures.
Mars Wrigley has set a global targeting of cutting all fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2040.