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Colruyt Group and Unilin Panels complete the circle


When it comes to circular enterprise, the Colruyt Group is one of the forerunners. The Belgian retail group has created a fresh new look for its offices and stores, and at the same time given old fittings a new lease of life. Permanent partner Unilin Panels has reused the wood as a raw material for panels that the Colruyt Group has integrated into its new interior.

Cooperation between the two organisations is rooted in history. “We used panels from Unilin Panels in our very first stores,” explains Paul Neirinckx, Purchaser at the Colruyt Group. Decades later, as the chain endeavours to minimise its ecological footprint, the match is better than ever. Paul continues, “Reuse is high up on our agenda. We consider a circular, sustainable approach just as important as competitive pricing.”

Circular wood UNILIN Colruyt

A common sustainability mission

As a pioneer in the field of recycling, Unilin Panels can identify wholeheartedly with the sustainability vision of the Colruyt Group. “Our current chipboard is 100 per cent made out of recovered wood,” explains Specification Director Christof De Poorter. It comprises 95 per cent recycled wood. The other five per cent comes from timber from thinning and waste flows from the timber industry. “This way, we reduce CO2 emissions by some 1.2 million tonnes a year.”

Circular wood UNILIN Colruyt

By renewing its partnership with Unilin Panels, the Colruyt Group managed to minimise waste during the renovation process. The chain delivered the wooden panels and shelves directly to the Unilin plant, where they underwent a sophisticated cleaning process before being worked into new panels. And the circle is indeed complete: the retail group used panels from Unilin Panels for the walls and shelves in its new offices and stores.

Part of a change in mentality

More and more companies are following the example of the Colruyt Group. Christof De Poorter explains, “We sense how important sustainability is becoming to our customers. Our circular approach helps them to take action.” Doing this helps them not only look after the planet, but also take a competitive advantage. An added bonus is the increased transparency that sustainability brings to organisations, something that is increasingly in demand. “Consumers are no longer buying just a product. They place a great deal of importance on the complete production chain,” concludes Christof.

Circular wood UNILIN Colruyt

In the redesign of its offices, retailer Colruyt Group opted for H720 BST White Birch & 625 BST Silicon from the UNILIN Evola collection.

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