Green Awareness behind Lee Kum Kee

Azure Pan

At Lee Kum Kee, a globally renowned sauce and condiment enterprise, pursuing LEED certification is part of its long-standing commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

In early July, Andy To, Managing Director of USGBC & GBCI North Asia, together with Jing Wang, Director of USGBC & GBCI North Asia, paid a visit to Lee Kum Kee’s largest production base in Xinhui, Guangdong.

Andy and Jing at Lee Kum Kee’s production base

During the visit, a Lee Kum Kee's corporate magazine titled CorporateLink (vol.85) caught our attention. The enterprise’s Green Soy Sauce Fermentation Project, a LEED Platinum-certified one, appeared on the cover.

We took this opportunity to find out what drives the brand with a glorious history of 132 years to pursue a greener business model, and which sustainable manufacturing practices have been adopted here.

Lee Kum Kee x LEED

Lee Kum Kee Sauce Group has long been ramping up investment in green manufacturing on its way to a green transition.

As a part of a 1.33 million sqm production base, the Lee Kum Kee Green Soy Sauce Fermentation Project received LEED Platinum certification under LEED BD+C: New Construction rating system in February this year.

The project achieved full credits in Water Efficiency Category and recorded outstanding performance in Energy & Atmosphere Category.

This production base, boasting Lee Kum Kee’s forward-thinking energy and environmental strategy in soy sauce production, features geothermal heat pump system, solar photovoltaic power generation system, greywater recycling system, natural gas boilers and a man-made wetland park.

An aerial view of Lee Kum Kee's production base in Xinhui

Notably, the solar photovoltaic power generation system and geothermal heat pump system earned full marks in the energy-saving aspect of LEED.

As early as 2014, Lee Kum Kee became the first condiment enterprise in China to adopt solar photovoltaic technology to convert solar energy into electricity by installing solar panels on warehouse roofs. The second phase solar photovoltaic power generation system, installed on the rooftop of the soy sauce plant, enables solar energy to be directly converted to electricity by semiconductor interface, resulting in significant reduction in electricity consumption.

Solar photovoltaic power generation system at the production base

The geothermal heat pump system provides both hot and cold water for soy sauce fermentation via heat exchangers and condensers; utilization of geothermal energy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower electricity and water use.

Si Li Ji Ren (Considering Others' Interests)

Si Li Ji Ren, meaning considering others’ interests, is one of Lee Kum Kee’s core values. Guided by this value, the enterprise continuously invests to make sustainable upgrades to packaging design, transportation logistics and user experiences in a bid to minimize its environmental impact.

Moreover, Lee Kum Kee believes that sustainable building can not only benefits the environment, but also have a positive impact on the health and well-being of employees. The large man-made wetland park inside its production base, in particular, provides relaxing outdoor space and greener environment for about 2,800 employees.

The man-made wetland park in production base

The man-made wetland park covers a gross area of 16,000 square meters. Upon completion, the wetland ecosystem can treat 4,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day. The greywater recycling system helps minimize water usage with water efficiency design.

Lee Kum Kee has been playing a key role in leading the industry towards sustainable development. The enterprise is dedicated to sustainability and environmental responsibility through green projects that comply with LEED standards, and continues to embrace corporate social responsibilities via a top-down approach to champion green industrial transition.

Sustainability Becomes a Rising Focus in China

In April this year, a feature article published by China Daily featuring Jing Wang, Director of USGBC & GBCI North Asia on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the retail market and green buildings, points out Chinese companies increasingly adopt green business practices for more sustainable growth.

A front-page feature in the business section of China Daily)

“In recent years, we have witnessed a growing number of new LEED registrations in China; most of the registrations were from commercial enterprises,” says Jing Wang, “People are paying more attention to factors related to indoor environmental quality, such as indoor air quality, sustainable design and building operations.”

With rising number of Chinese companies like Lee Kum Kee making great strides in green building leadership and sustainable business practices, we believe China has embarked on a solid path toward a greener future.


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