The Sh7 billion “green” chewing gum factory owned by US-based Mars Wrigley, which has been under construction for the past three years, is set to be commissioned mid this year.
Wrigley Middle East and Africa market development director Wanja Mwangi said the firm had adopted the latest construction technology that ensures the facility is energy efficient, pollution free and people friendly.
She was speaking during the award of the LEED GOLD certification to the new Athi River, Machakos County, plant which sits on 20 acres.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world run by the US Green Building Council.
“We are glad to have included many green initiatives in the design and construction of our new facility in Kenya as we are keen to promote better, healthier spaces for people to work,” she said.
The factory, which received 62 points to earn the certification, has a biomass boiler, waste water treatment plant, skylights and many windows allowing the facility to operate with minimal use of electric lights. To improve the health of workers, bicycle racks and showering facilities have been installed as well as parking lots to promote car-pooling and use of fuel-efficient vehicles.
“Mars Incorporated looks to secure positive impacts for business, people and the planet.
“The company aims to cut fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from our operations by 2040. This includes development of long-term water and waste targets to support this goal,” said Ms Mwangi.
The company also plans to close down its Industrial Area Nairobi-based factory, from where it has operated since 1972 serving Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, the DRC and South Sudan markets.
Some of its popular brands include Big G, PK, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, Skittles and Orbit.
Once operational, the new plant will annually churn out 7.8 billion pellets of chewing gum.