Mars Belgium chooses the ecological DHL campus in Bornem, leading to a big improvement in terms of supply chain sustainability

Mars Belgium chooses  the ecological DHL campus in Bornem,  leading to a big improvement  in terms of supply chain sustainability

- 50% less CO2 emission due to a lower energy consumption and co-loading

- 99% reuse of water and waste

- integration of 42 to 60 employees from sheltered workshops at the packaging department

Main objective is yet more supply chain sustainability as part of Mars’ ambitious program ‘Sustainable in a Generation’

Early November, Mars Belgium moved its warehouse to the brand new 21,000 m² large depot situated at the green DHL campus site in Bornem. The switch from the DHL site in Tisselt to the new distribution center in Bornem was a logical step in terms of Mars Belgium’s sustainability strategy. A responsible food company like Mars Belgium wants to reduce its ecological footprint to a minimum. Furthermore, it is important to return something to the society in which it has its activities. “We are not only concerned about our growth, but also about our business’impact on the climate.” Hence the importance of, together with peer partners, having a sustainable entrepreneurship with due respect for the environment and the people.

Mars Belgium’s vision is totally compatible with the idea of the green campus in Bornem, enabling DHL to create an efficient and eco-friendly platform for horizontal cooperation between companies in the sector of consumer goods and retail. After all, the brand new depot that Mars Belgium recently began to use pays special attention to sustainable entrepreneurship. Mars’ objective is to make all its offices and factories ‘Sustainable in a Generation’. By 2040, which is one generation away, the company wants to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. The impact on using water and waste must reduce too. To this end, Mars Belgium wants to fully focus on efficient, energy-saving equipment, innovative technologies and renewable energy. “To us, this ecological DHL distribution center in Bornem is the most suitable location to work towards achieving this objective,”says Annick Serré, Supply Chain Director at Mars Belgium. “This unique low-energy building and the fact that we use co-loading enable us to reduce our CO2 emission with 50%. We also reuse all the collected rainwater and bring our waste to almost zero.”

Less CO2 emission thanks to a state-of-the art eco-friendly warehouse

The unique green distribution center ensures the biggest reduction of CO2 emission. A considerable part of the green electricity comes from the 36,000 m² solar panels installed at the site. We also use optimal insulation and an intelligent heating system based on communicating thermostats, resulting in 40% less gas consumption. Moreover, the pallets are stacked as closely as possible to each other, meaning that less heating is required. You will not find a single light switch in the warehouse either. The whole building uses intelligent LED lighting, which is activated as soon as movement is detected and which is put out when the building is empty. We also invested in state-of-the art low-energy rolling stock, which furthermore is equipped with an innovative technology aiming at the employees’ safety.

Co-loading helps to reduce the ecological footprint

The concept of horizontal cooperation between Mars Belgium and the other FMCG companies at the campus helps to reduce the CO2 footprint of the outgoing transport. By using co-loading, trucks can be loaded to their maximum capacity and less transport is required to and from the common distribution points at the market. This means fewer trucks on the road, fewer kilometers driven and therefore less emission. Furthermore, the location of this distribution center close to the canal Antwerp-Brussels and the railway offers sustainable possibilities for the future.

Reuse of waste and water up to almost 100%

Everywhere in the warehouse you will find so-called waste islands with containers where the waste is sorted. Cardboard, foil, wood, glass and residual waste are sent to a waste processing company nearby where everything is recycled into new materials. Up to 99% of the waste is recycled. All the rainwater is collected in a large basin, purified and reused in the warehouse.

Social integration

Besides the 45 DHL employees working at the warehouse for Mars, there are 42 more, and during peak periods up to 60 people coming from a sheltered workshop. They see to co-packing the Mars products. It is important to Mars Belgium that people with fewer opportunities at the job market may move on to traditional companies.


“Everything at this green campus is right with regard to sustainability,” says Annick Serré. “And every apparently small bit may help to achieve this. After all, we at Mars Belgium want to be proud of our growth and we want to return something to the environment in which we operate. Just like the bees from the beehive situated at the premises in Bornem. In exchange for their honey they see to the fertilization of fauna and flora, in this way increasing the biodiversity. This principle of reciprocity is something we want to use in carrying out our activities.”

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