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Unilever investing Bt2.6 bn in new HQ on Rama IX

By on Sep 05, 2012 in Property News

The Unilever Thai Group of Companies yesterday announced that it would invest Bt2.6 billion in its new corporate headquarters on Rama IX Road in Bangkok, meant to enhance the company’s working style while reducing the impact on the environment.

The investment will also include its new research and development centre, its second in Asia, worth about Bt600 million, aimed at serving expansion under the coming Asean Economic Community.

With total space of about 48,000 square metres, the 12-storey headquarters building will be officially opened next year.

Speaking before the foundation-stone-laying ceremony, presided over by HRH Princess Somsavali, Bauke Rouwers, chairman of Unilever Thai Group of Companies, said: “The new headquarters represents a very significant long-term commitment to Thailand and the Thai people as we prepare to celebrate the 80th anniversary of our operations in the Kingdom.

“Unilever has led the environmental agenda and targeted doubling our business in Thailand by 2015 and reducing waste by 50 per cent. And by 2020 the group is committed to helping 1 billion people around the world improve their health and well-being, sourcing 100 per cent of our agricultural raw materials sustainably and halving the environmental footprint of our products, including their manufacture and their usage by consumers.

“To achieve such an ambitious goal, Unilever has to bring to the market great products and innovations. We believe that agile working environment is a key to promote innovation,” Rouwers said.

“Our new corporate headquarters in Thailand was designed and developed according to our ‘agile workplace, green building concept’. This will stimulate staff interaction and innovation while efficiently reducing energy consumption by at least 20 per cent. With open-wall-design office space, the new building will promote more employees agility and thus interaction and creativity.”

The design of the new building aims to remove barriers related to work and communications and establish a lively environment. The office will be bright, cheerful and spacious with ramps, bridges and stairways connecting the central area of every floor. This enables employees from different departments to interact more with one another. Wireless Internet connections will be the core of the communication system to enables free flow of information while reducing operating costs.

“We believe agility and a cheerful environment in the workplace will enable our people to create innovation better. With Unilever’s innovative products, we will help transform consumers’ houses into home, share happiness to Thai families and make every Thai look and feel their best while reducing overall impact on the environment,” said Rouwers.

In addition to making “agile workplace”, the new headquarters is very green. From foundation to decoration, the building is designed to be environmentally friendly. The goal to for recycled materials to make up at least 20 per cent of the building and be sourced within the region. All systems, such as the curtain-wall system and intelligent lighting, will help reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent.

While the building is being developed by Grand Canal Land according to a long-term lease contract, every aspect of its overall design and construction is being specified by Unilever, including all the environmental aspects necessary to earn US LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the building’s operation.

Reporting on Unilever Thai Group of Companies’ performance during the first half of 2012, Rouwers said it recorded double-digit sales growth, outpacing the market.

“Unilever’s strong performance this year can be attributed to buoyant consumer demand for our products, rapid product innovation, a number of very successful product launches and very successful partnerships with our major customers,” he said.

Source : The Nation 5 September 2012

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