Modern manufacturing, the Scandinavian way2022-02-24T09:19:01+01:00

Project Description

Modern manufacturing, the Scandinavian way

Modern manufacturing, the Scandinavian way

How Swedish building material factories are powered by nature.

Sweden and other Scandinavian countries have a proud heritage of living harmoniously with nature, and this even includes the manufacturing sector. In industrial processes such as making building materials, harnessing renewable energy sources can play their part in a more sustainable future for all.

Gustafs' production using hydropower running the factory

Sweden has a long history of utilising renewable sources, such as wind, water, solar and biomass, for its energy supply. Although the production of wind power is growing, the country’s most common form of renewable energy is hydropower. This is readily available thanks to Sweden’s vast undeveloped landscapes, which are full of moving water. In 2019, Sweden had the largest share of renewable energy in the European Union and the government’s goal of 50% was reached a decade ago. 

This is good news for the manufacturing industry, especially for energy-intensive industries such as vehicle and construction material production. As the abundant and clean energy of the Swedish wilderness becomes better known globally, more and more companies are moving to the cold climates of Scandinavia, particularly its northernmost parts. In this way, brands can satisfy the pressure from shareholders and the public to shift to carbon neutral operations.

Living with nature

For many Swedish manufacturers, however, living in harmony with nature is nothing new. There is a long history of protecting the abundant wild nature, and the country is home to several world-class environmental research centres. The Swedish lifestyle is also heavily based on green living, from early years education about sustainability, to the ‘right to roam’ for every citizen. The latter gives everyone the legal right to enjoy nature, and also the responsibility to care for it.

Production of a wooden panel

Green building materials

As with all products, the sustainability of building materials depends on several factors. These range from the products’ raw materials and the management of waste, to the durability and end-of-life aspects such as the possibility to reuse or recycle. How factories are powered also plays an important role. By utilising electricity from renewable sources, it’s possible for manufacturers to offer building materials made from carbon neutral processes. 

We asked Gustafs CEO, Ruben Krouwel, to explain how ‘green production’ is an important aspect of the organisation’s ethos: “Living and working as we do in the forest and pastoral landscape around Gustafs in the region of Dalarna, we are reminded daily of our responsibility for our environment, both locally and in a global perspective. Manufacturing in harmony with nature is part of our DNA, and that’s why we’re proud to source and run Gustafs’ whole production plant on 100% certified renewable energy”

As the built environment sector as a whole is working towards a carbon neutral future, being able to specify building materials that are produced using renewable energy sources will go a long way to help.

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Photos:

Gustafs & Unsplash