Sustainable operation


We want to change the world without compromising on creativity, quality and beauty. Together with partners who also want to make things better, more beautiful and more sustainable, we are building a sustainable future for our shops, offices and distribution centre with respect for the environment. Central objectives are the reduction of our CO2 emissions and the use of more sustainable materials.

More circularity

Sustainable operation

Els Lieshout, manager visual merchandising, is responsible for the shop windows and instore decoration and presentation – in short, the shopping experience – of de Bijenkorf.

“When designing new shop windows, we always work from a concept. From there, we come up with inspiring and innovative ideas in a brainstorming session. The best of these are then implemented. Sustainability is an important factor right from the first development phase.”

“Within my field of expertise, we have achieved a great deal in the area of sustainability in the past year. Many parts of the shop windows are made from 100% recycled materials or from a raw material that is less harmful to the environment. Reusing things is foremost on our minds in the design phase. We don’t throw anything away unless it has become really unusable, and if we do, we take it apart so that the separate elements can be recycled. Items or materials that we can no longer use ourselves are given a different purpose. In this way, we are striving for 100% circularity. That is still a dot on the horizon, but we should be able to reach 90% eventually, especially if we work well together with our partners.

“With the campaign The Future is Green that we show in our shop windows, we want to tell our customers about the green initiatives of de Bijenkorf. The Green Bee logo, which you will see everywhere in our shops, makes it easier for our customers to make more sustainable choices and shows that sustainability can go hand in hand with style and quality.”

“I have been very inspired by the saying ‘you don’t inherit the earth, you borrow it from your children’ and the book The Good Ancestor. I try to do my work and live my life with these principles in mind. There is still a long way to go, but the time to change is now!”

Reducing our CO2 emissions

Gerard van de Poll, Sr. Manager Infrastructure, is responsible for technology and energy at de Bijenkorf and as such is involved in all major technical projects and the energy transition.

“Within my area of responsibility, reducing our own CO2 emissions – scope 1 and 2 for those in the know, is one of the most important objectives: by 29.4% in 2025 and 50% in 2030. To achieve this, we use energy responsibly. We have been investing in a more efficient control of our installations and we have replaced installations and installed LED lighting and solar panels. The moves to our new sustainable head office and distribution centre also contribute to reducing our CO2 emissions.”

“To meet our 2030 target, we need to continue on this path. We will therefore continue to invest in sustainable installations and work with the owners of our buildings on better insulation. There are advanced plans for even more self-generation of energy and more sustainable forms of contract with energy suppliers.”

“A good example of how design and sustainability go together is our new LED lighting: we save a lot of energy and the appearance of our shop windows and stores is greatly improved. We want to change the world without compromising on creativity, quality and beauty. So there are also solar panels on the roof of the monumental Bijenkorf on Dam Square, but you can’t see them.”

“For me, sustainable living means always making conscious choices, professionaly but also privately.”

Sustainable operation

Responsible logistics

Marianne Vierhout is supply chain project manager at de Bijenkorf and responsible for chain-wide improvements, with the aim of making the logistic flows to and from the distribution centre, customers and shops run even more efficiently.

“There’s a lot going on in sustainable delivery of parcels. Well-known carriers are working hard to reduce their emissions and newcomers are entering the market, using electric vehicles, bicycles or more sustainable fuel.”

“An important step in our sustainability efforts is the replacement of paper. By switching from paper to digital invoicing, we save 12,000 kg of paper per year, about 40 trees. We have also done away with paper lists for order picking in the distribution centre, saving another 2,800 kg of paper annually.”

“Our shipping boxes are climate neutral. If you scan the QR code on the box, you can see which projects we contribute to.”

“Already a third of our packages are packed by a packing machine, which cuts the packages to size, so we use less cardboard and transport less air. This will become much more in the future.”

“To reduce the use of plastic, we no longer pack fragile goods in bubble wrap, but in cardboard.”

“Since this year, we have been using the more sustainable HVO100 fuel, made from vegetable oils and residual waste, to transport items to our shops. This saves us 90% of our CO2 emissions from retail transport.”

“As a customer you too can do something to reduce emissions. For example, pick up your package on foot or by bike from a collection point instead of having it delivered to your home. Every little bit helps!

“Sustainable living means to me: thinking consciously before buying new things.”

Sustainable operation

More sustainable materials

Mareike Leist, Sr. Design Manager, is responsible for developing creative, inspiring and sustainable interior designs for the Bijenkorf shops, together with her team from the Store Design & Development department.

“Our main objective is to make the materials we use for shop interiors more sustainable. FSC-labelled wood e.g., materials of local origin, recycled or recyclable materials and LED lights. During our research into more sustainable materials and processes, we realised that real sustainability requires a circular approach. That’s why we’re increasing the use of reusable, renewable and compostable materials, and have drawn up a list of materials that we don’t want to use anymore, now and in the long run.

“What makes it challenging is the huge amount of different materials and objectives. Also, it turned out that for some sustainability aspects there is no measuring instrument (yet) or evidence, for example in the form of a certificate. Therefore we decided to develop our own measuring instrument.”

“For the materials that we use most often, we have chosen a more sustainable variety, based on our own research, and drawn up guidelines for our construction, design and brand partners.”

“In the leather goods department of de Bijenkorf Rotterdam, you’ll find furniture covered with recycled plastic from old yoghurt cups. In some of our shops we have soft, supple fitting room curtains in beautiful colours, made from PET bottles. And at our head office you can admire cabinets made without cutting waste, felt from recycled clothing on the columns and reupholstered vintage chairs.”

“There is still a lot to do, to learn and to innovate. This year we are testing five new more sustainable materials in our stores. We think it is essential to share the knowledge we gain as widely as possible to inspire others.”

“For me, sustainable living means finding a good balance between sustainability and living. I think I handle energy, water and waste quite responsibly, but I also love to make long travels.”

Sustainable operation




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