Rotterdam, 3 November 2017 – Today, one year after the centralisation of Unilever’s Foods R&D expertise from Heilbronn (Germany), Poznan (Poland) and Vlaardingen (the Netherlands) in the Foods ecosystem in Wageningen (the Netherlands) was announced, Unilever has started the construction of its new world-wide Foods Innovation Centre.
On the campus of the Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Paul Polman (CEO Unilever), Maarten Camps (Secretary General Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate), Louise Fresco (President of WUR), Aalt Dijkhuizen (President Dutch Topsector Agri & Food) and Mayor of Wageningen
Geert van Rumund reflected on what innovation in the Agri & Food sector means to the world-wide food system, Dutch economy and the FoodValley region.
Paul Polman, CEO Unilever: “In 2050, more than 9 billion people need 70% more food than is currently being produced. This calls for a fundamental adjustment of the current food system. It is not possible for one company to achieve this adjustment, but requires close cooperation. The move to Wageningen is therefore a logical step. By being an active part of the Wageningen Foods ecosystem, we have access to international talent and are able to develop new ways of cooperation with the WUR, knowledge centres, other companies, the authorities, NGO’s and with start-ups, to jointly ensure that sustainable foods become the norm and that sustainable and nutritious food is accessible to all”.
Mayor of Wageningen, Geert van Rumund: “We look forward to welcoming Unilever at the Wageningen Campus. The Foods Innovation Centre dovetails seamlessly with Wageningen’s ambition to become the Dutch knowledge centre in the area of (Agro)Food and Life Sciences within the
Food Valley region. This will give an enormous boost to the knowledge and innovation networks, which are already very effective here. The realization of the Unilever Foods Innovation Centre underpins that the Wageningen Campus is an attractive location for internationally operating companies”.
Aalt Dijkhuizen, President Dutch Topsector Agri & Food: “We are the global leader thanks to our knowledge and innovative strength. We are very pleased that Unilever is setting up its R&D centre in the heart of our ‘golden triangle’. This will enhance our ability to produce healthy and safe foods for
9 billion people in a resilient world.”
Louise Fresco, President of Wageningen University & Research: “I am very pleased to welcome the Unilever Foods Innovation Centre to the Wageningen Campus. At Wageningen University & Research, we contribute knowledge for sustainable and inclusive food sector development to generate an innovation-oriented ecosystem, where various partners interact in order to improve the – global – food chain and to solve the great global challenge to feed the world in a responsible, healthy and sustainable way. “Science for Impact” and “Partnerships for Impact” are key themes at WUR and we pride ourselves on developing innovation and partnerships, such as this collaboration with the Unilever Foods Innovation Centre.”
Maarten Camps, Secretary General of Economic Affairs and Climate: “The Netherlands has one of the most innovative and productive agrifood sectors in the world. Thanks to the Wageningen region, we are at the forefront of high tech applications, such as food robots, smart glasshouses and big data. Unilever’s choice to set up its global Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen, contributes to this leading position. In this Centre, researchers, students, start-ups and consumers are jointly developing innovations in the foods industry. This is important, because this cooperation contributes both to a healthy and sustainable food supply and to our economy. I want to thank the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and its regional partners for their efforts in attracting this important centre to Wageningen.”
The Global Foods Innovation Centre is designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects. The design aims to achieve a high BREEAM sustainability certification. The transparent design and strategic location of the building at the Wageningen Campus ensure optimal interaction between Unilever and various external parties, such as universities, science institutes and start-ups; an interaction centred around the sharing of knowledge. The construction is carried out by Dura Vermeer and is expected to be completed mid-2019.
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Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 169,000 employees and generated sales of €52.7 billion in 2016. Over half (57%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Lynx.
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:
Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.
The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.
Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the seventh year running. Unilever has pledged to become carbon positive in its operations by 2030.
About Paul de Ruiter Architects
Paul de Ruiter Architects is one of the most sustainable, trendsetting architecture offices in Europe. From its very start in the nineties, the firm has been pioneering the realms of sustainability and ever since, it has been a great advocate and practitioner of sustainable, energy-saving architectural design.
Paul de Ruiter Architects works from the principle that research and innovation are necessary to create buildings that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also sustainable, energy saving, healthy and - not to forget - a pleasurable to be in. Paul de Ruiter Architects is experienced in meeting the high standards of leading sustainability certificates such as LEED and BREEAM.
The office is specialized in technically complex assignments and engaged in a myriad of projects, ranging from residential projects and schools to large developments like university buildings, hotels, theatres, office buildings, social housing and infrastructural projects such as dikes, waterworks, tunnels and carparks.
About Dura Vermeer
Dura Vermeer is a construction company operating throughout the Netherlands, which, with a turnover of more than 1.1 billion and some 2,500 employees, is among the top of the Dutch construction market. Dura Vermeer is engaged in the development, engineering, construction, maintenance and renovation of projects in the residential, non-residential, construction and infrastructure markets. We operate exclusively in the Netherlands and have nearly 160 years of experience and expertise. Dura Vermeer covers the entire country with a network of independent regional business units. Our customers increasingly require high quality and sustainable solutions and facilities for liveability, housing, working, recreation, mobility and safety. We work together with customers, contractors and others involved in the construction process to build on the best possible solutions based on our brand values: customer-oriented, reliable, team player and inventive.
Click here for the official start of the Global Foods Innovation Centre of Unilever.