Sustainability is one of the key factors guiding the commercial strategy at Dutch retail chain Hema B.V., which was founded back in 1926. “We strive to minimize the environmental impact of our products by sourcing alternative and sustainable raw materials and rethinking our packaging choices,” explains Michel van Leeuwen, Head of Audit for Technology and Servicing at Hema's central warehouse in Utrecht, describing the company's approach. For instance, Hema has introduced a sustainability policy for its most frequently used raw materials. A green leaf displayed on the packaging of textiles and household items tells consumers that these products have been produced using sustainable resources. Hema also places great value on ensuring the sustainability of its logistics. When the retail chain opened its central warehouse for storage and transport processes back in 2001, it introduced a closed-loop system based on returnable containers. The company’s logistics team sourced these first recyclable plastic containers from the extensive range offered by SSI SCHAEFER. The intralogistics specialists initially supplied 250,000 foldable/collapsible containers, ready for the commissioning of the central warehouse and returnable container system. As Hema has continued to expand, so too has its demand for high-quality returnable containers, and over the years the two companies have developed a longstanding collaboration based on mutual trust. The retail chain currently orders an average of 40,000 new containers every year.
“For almost two decades we have been using the same container type for both storage and transport,” continues Michel van Leeuwen. “From the very beginning, SSI SCHAEFER has proven to be the perfect partner, offering reliable deliveries and exceptional flexibility in terms of production times.”