Mars Chocolate North America announced that its new manufacturing facility in Topeka, Kan., has earned LEED Gold certification —an internationally accepted benchmark for designing, constructing and operating green buildings—from the U.S. Green Building Council. The roughly 500,000-square-foot facility, which opened in March, produces M&M’s Brand Candies and Snickers Bars.
This accolade represents an additional LEED Gold award for Mars, Incorporated, joining the Mars Chocolate North America corporate headquarters in Hackettstown, N.J., and Mars Petcare’s pet food manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, Ark.
“We’re proud that this state-of-the-art site engages cutting-edge environmental standards, setting an example for others to follow,” said Bret Spangler, Site Director – Topeka, Mars Chocolate North America. “Mars is committed to putting our Principles into Action to drive leadership in sustainability. LEED Gold certification for the Topeka facility is another shining example of our ambitious goal to make our factories and offices ‘Sustainable in a Generation.'”
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback applauded the accomplishment. “By working toward, and achieving LEED Gold Status, Mars Topeka continues to demonstrate its commitment to its workers and our community,” said Governor Brownback. “This is a tremendous achievement and I congratulate them.”
To meet the precise requirements to become LEED Gold certified, the Topeka site includes several sustainable systems and features, such as: 100 percent renewable electricity, state-of-the art heat recovery systems, rain water harvesting for sewage transfer in the office area and for landscape irrigation, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient lighting, reusing and recycling building materials, use of native grasses without irrigation, and the use of low-emitting local and regional materials.
Including the Topeka site, nine of the 10 Mars Chocolate North America factories have achieved ‘zero waste to landfill.’ This target is one of several 2015 global goals outlined in the Mars Principles in Action Summary, published in July on mars.com.
The fourth annual report details the company’s approach to business and its commitment to put the Mars Five Principles into action. This includes a target for the private, family-owned business to eliminate all fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations by 2040.
Since 2011, Mars, Incorporated has aimed to achieve LEED Gold certification for all new major buildings globally. Additional sustainability initiatives undertaken by Mars in North America include:
- In May, Mars announced the creation of a 200-megawatt wind farm that will generate electricity equivalent to 100 percent of the power for Mars’ U.S. operations, which is comprised of 70 sites, including 37 factories and 25,000 Associates.
- In 2013, Mars Chocolate North America improved its energy intensity by more than seven percent and its water intensity by 9 percent.
- The Hackettstown, N.J., solar garden provides renewable electricity during peak hours equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the peak consumption at the plant producing M&M’s Brand Candies.
- The solar garden at the Henderson, Nev., Ethel M’s plant supplies 100 percent of the renewable electricity to the plant during peak operating hours.
- As of year-end 2013, all Wrigley North America sites have reached zero waste to landfill.
- Wrigley’s Chattanooga facility installed 240 solar panels on the roof, which saves energy and an estimated $17,000 on electricity each year.
- The Mars Food North America Bolton Food Plant in Bolton, Ontario, has achieved zero waste to landfill more than two years ahead of schedule. As a result, more waste than would fit into 2.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools was diverted from landfill, saving $360,000 on landfill charges and generating almost $150,000 in rebates.
- In October, Mars Petcare will open a LEED Gold certified Global Innovation Center in Thompson’s Station, Tenn. The campus is estimated to reduce potable water consumption by 40 percent and consume 28 percent less energy than code compliant buildings.
To learn more about the company’s commitment to sustainability, please visit here.