Marcel Westerbeke (twenty-five years of experience in the catering sector and degrees in hospitality, facilities management and real estate) has been involved in the co-creation of CLIC since April 2021. "We came into contact with the developers because we are responsible for all the restaurants on the high-tech campus in Eindhoven," Westerbeke says. "Then we soon got into a conversation about the facilities services at CLIC and since then we have started to think along on all kinds of aspects: from dimensions and choice of materials to furnishing and logistics."
Attractive to work
At the time, CLIC was little more than a concept and a rough sketch, Westerbeke explains. "Yet the idea soon came up to explore how we could combine our services and operations. Think of both providing facility services and establishing a central kitchen - a central production unit or CPU in our jargon - and why couldn't this be done at CLIC? It will be Europe's first emission-free logistics campus and you just want to be there. In addition, the BREEAM and WELL certification levels make it a sustainable business location in the broadest sense, where it will be very attractive to work. The overall picture of the location, the smart logistics, the campus community, the facilities and especially that attraction makes CLIC an extremely interesting option for us."
Westerbeke is also keen to see CLIC become pivotal in the sustainability drive currently underway at Compass Group. "Last year, we launched NuLA, our new sustainability policy in all the countries where we operate, with the aim of being climate-positive by 2030. That means: emission-free and waste-free." A large part of sustainability at Compass Group must therefore come from making logistics more efficient. Westerbeke: "Centralisation of our activities is the first part of this. Currently, we still run many restaurants in different places in the city. Staff have to go there and suppliers have to bring their stuff there. If we instead start supplying all our customers from a central location, both our kitchen and restaurant staff and our suppliers will no longer have to go into the city. Instead, they will come to CLIC."
Short food chain
Shipping from CLIC to customers makes everything more efficient, Westerbeke says. "By outsourcing the planning and forwarding to a data party and a logistics executor, there is profit to be made and it will also be possible to drive with a white fleet. That forwarder will be able to serve several customers in one trip, which are currently served with several trips. This does not rule out the possibility of competitors' goods being transported on the same trips. The moment something is delivered to a customer, the return flows immediately come back with it, which also saves another vehicle movement and therefore time, money and energy."
"For instance, we like to work with local initiatives that source produce from the neighbourhood. That way, you work with seasonal vegetables. By working with such initiatives, we contribute to a short food chain and less energy consumption. Vegetables are becoming a more important product for us anyway. About 40 per cent of our meals used to be vegetarian and we want to double that percentage." By working with such initiatives, we contribute to short food chain and less energy consumption. Vegetables are becoming a more important product for us anyway. Of our meals, about 40 per cent were vegetarian at first and we want to double that percentage."
Delivery robots and robotic waste bins
Compass Group's plans around corporate social responsibility, in turn, can also make CLIC more sustainable if Compass Group starts working there as a service provider, reasons Westerbeke. "One of our sustainability goals is to combat waste, and by this we mean not only the waste of food and energy, but also of talent and labour potential, for example. Therefore, we want to work more with people who are distanced from the labour market. With initiatives like The Colour Kitchen in Utrecht, we have already had good experiences, which we can use a lot at CLIC."
The ideal experimental environment at CLIC also makes the location all the more attractive for a company like Compass Group. "Especially in facility services, this offers opportunities," says Westerbeke. "Think of delivery robots and drones or robotic waste bins, which use artificial intelligence to go to where it is 'busiest'.
Moving to CLIC is a real option for Compass Group. "The fact that there will be a ban on transport with combustion engines in inner cities in 2025 makes it more or less a must. We have already electrified 95 per cent of our fleet, but we will soon need the corresponding charging infrastructure for that at a central location. Only CLIC offers that on the scale we are looking for." Westerbeke also notes that many government and semi-government customers ("some of the largest Dutch municipalities and universities and colleges") have made sustainability a hard condition in their procurement policies. "They really demand hard and integral sustainability policies from companies they buy from. If we end up at CLIC, we can guarantee this one hundred per cent. That location will then become the sustainability showcase for us in Europe."