Little drink, big impact

From selling a couple of smoothies at a London festival in 1999 to a state-of-the-art factory that produces and bottles 400 million drinks a year. In less than twenty years, innocent has conquered the world with a healthy product and a clear message: ‘We want to leave things better than we find them’. Deerns is responsible for the process involved in obtaining BREEAM and WELL certification as well as for developing the WELL standard for industrial manufacturing facilities, in collaboration with the International Well Building Institute.

innocent produces natural fruit drinks ‘to make it easy for people to do themselves some good, in a way that is good for the planet’, as the company puts it. This approach seems to have worked wonders, because the UK-based company has been growing fast in the last few years. Today, innocent is the largest smoothie and juice brand in Europe. To facilitate this growth, the firm will build a brand-new factory in the Rotterdam Food Hub: the blender.

Living proof

The blender is much more than a production plant. innocent is aiming for BREEAM Outstanding and WELL certifications to create a factory that is as sustainable and healthy as possible. ‘Our philosophy is that you can run a profitable business, while doing the right thing for people and the planet, too’, explains site director Andy Joynson.

Shortening the production chain

Joynson says the new factory in Rotterdam is a natural outcome of this ambition. ‘At the moment, we don’t actually produce anything ourselves. Many of our processes are outsourced to partners, including production, bottling and packaging. By bringing it all together into one factory, at a strategic location, we will drastically shorten our logistical movements and production chain – and will lose a huge chunk of our carbon footprint’.
Reducing mileage is one thing, but building a modern, sustainable factory is just as important, Joynson emphasizes. ‘Elements like minimal water usage, waste reduction and recycling and creating afantastic working environment are just as important. As is realising a production facility that is as energy-efficient as possible. We’re doing everything we can to achieve this. Joining hands with experts in the field of plant design and sustainable technology is part of that effort.’

Blown away

Joynson: ‘We initially asked Deerns to tender for the plant's technical engineering design (energy and HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning). However, they also presented what BREEAM and WELL certifications would add to the factory. We are so impressed with this, that we have included this input in the construction plans. Today, Deerns is helping us realise these ambitions.’

The WELL certification, in particular, is quite unique. This scheme focuses on the well-being of employees. Think, for example, of good daylight entry, air quality and sufficient green areas. innocent's new factory is among the first production facilities in the world to aim for WELL certification.

This investment is in addition to all the work that has gone into designing a factory as energy-efficient and sustainable as possible – two efforts Joynson says should not be viewed separately. ‘The WELL standard will not only help us to take good care of your employees; it also challenges us to think about a workplace that people really enjoy being in: an environment that energizes you, rather than draining you. In every possible respect, we want to be ‘the earth's favourite little healthy drinks factory’.

the blender, a factory that aims high

innocent’s factory, the blender, is to be ‘the earth's favourite little healthy drinks factory’. Good for the planet, consumers, employees and neighbours. Its location in the Rotterdam Food Hub is a strategic choice. By bringing together the juice terminal and the filling facility at one location, innocent can cut back the mileage covered by all those drinks by at least 25%, which equals a 10% CO2 emission reduction. The combination of innovative heat pumps, high-efficiency LED lighting, energy-efficient mechanical and processing equipment, and good insulation values helps to minimise energy consumption. Deerns has performed several advanced energy simulations in order to demonstrate the plant’s complete energy neutrality. The remaining energy requirement will be generated by means of solar panels and two wind turbines.

9 July 2020

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