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Is Lidl’s biggest DC
in the Netherlands
also the most

Last Thursday, Lidl opened the largest and most sustainable distribution centre in the Netherlands. A huge DC of over 55,000 square metres where sustainability was used in both construction and furnishing. Green building materials, the reuse of only sustainably generated energy and (after obtaining the permit) their own wind turbine makes you think that their green mission has succeeded. But, is this DC really the most sustainable in the Netherlands?

What are the conditions for the most sustainable DC?

With all the sustainable adjustments Lidl has made to the construction and furnishing of their new DC, it is difficult to argue that this building is not sustainable. However, I wonder whether the certification of the most sustainable distribution centre goes beyond these feasible and functional elements. If you set sustainability as a condition for new buildings, which in my opinion is a must for new buildings and which you cannot really avoid, should you not look further and make maximum use of sustainability? A sustainable vision goes beyond feasible elements and a ten-year plan. The same vision prepares you for the greatest uncertainties when it comes to storage. The management of the entire chain remains unpredictable due to the increasingly complex and accelerated processes. So, isn’t this exactly what we need? How your storage forecast looks from one month to the next can be very different.

What do I mean by this? It’s simple. It is hard to determine in advance how many square meters you need for storage. Especially in a new distribution centre and even more if the DC is built for several clients. You need to provide a sustainable warehouse solution that can handle all the peaks and troughs. This is also the case for Lidl’s new DC.

Jeroen Hillen, from the real estate division of Lidl Netherlands and closely involved in the new construction project, says: “If we had to do it all again, we would have made the refrigeration and freezing compartments larger, as we have noticed that the demand for this is increasing.”

The most sustainable warehouse does not have to be built 

If we really want to make the warehouse branch more sustainable, our opportunities are not in the construction of a new DC, but in sharing warehouse capacity and services that would otherwise remain unused. We therefore avoid unnecessary landscape pollution with new buildings that don’t actually totally fulfill the requirements. This makes warehousing greener and more cost efficient. By building a flexible layer in your regular warehousing you always have a suitable option for extra warehouse capacity, which contributes to the sustainability of your warehouse operation. You only use this capacity when you need it. 

No more warehouse waste is our sustainable vision on warehousing.

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