At Ekeri, choosing materials and designs that ensure the longest possible lifespans for its products is only one of the reasons for its green success.
Trailers are lined up in the assembly hall, ready for delivery to customers. But no trailer is dispatched until a green sticker has been attached to its tailgate, which reads: Net Zero Manufacturing.
– We’ve now achieved complete carbon neutrality at the factory. Last year our emissions were reduced to 128 tonnes – equivalent to the emissions of ten private individuals. We offset the excess by planting trees on peatlands, says Daniel Asplund, Quality and Aftersales Manager.
Sustainability gives us a competitive edge
Ekeri was awarded the Jakobstad Region Sustainability Prize in 2022. It all started several years ago. As soon as sustainability became a hot topic, Daniel Asplund, an avid learner, took a course on the subject and initiated the company’s Code of Conduct. Then, slowly but surely, things started to move in the right direction. He says that having a strategy also means having an edge over the competition. Customers were starting to ask about the company’s views on the climate, human rights, and gender equality.
He has some valuable advice for companies just starting to switch towards greener production:
– Attend sustainability events, to learn more. Start with what your company is already good at before choosing a simple, manageable project. Success is a great motivator, so make sure to celebrate your achievements.
Ekeri’s achievement of carbon neutrality is due to several factors: burning wood chips, switching to biofuels, and operating on green electricity. Its next step is to tackle its products, and here the big challenge is the materials.
– We use steel, a product of an emissions-heavy industry, and until there are alternatives on the market, we’re stuck with what we’ve got. Fossil-free steel is in development, and I hope it will soon become a reality. A new ventilation system is also on the drawing board – the current model is unnecessarily energy-intensive – as are air source heat pumps to harness energy from the paint shop.
Repair possibilities and product design is vital
In the service hall, two used trailers sit side by side. One was in a road accident. Its wall was damaged and has been replaced. The other caught fire, and the trailer’s entire top must be replaced.
– This is a good example of our long-term circular thinking. By repairing our trailers, we extend their life cycle, says Daniel Asplund.
The trailers’ design is another example. From a loading point of view, a transport solution should, of course, be as light as possible. The lighter the lorry, the greater the payload it can take and still be within its maximum permitted weight. But good design is also about trying to reduce the amount of material in a trailer. Ekeri’s trailers can be opened at the side, which is also a benefit from a sustainability point of view – the quicker it can be loaded and unloaded, the less empty running.
And the green sticker you use? It’s a way of showing the company’s priorities, and that environmental friendliness is a continuing objective. Daniel Asplund urges others to promote their green credentials too.
Ekeri – About us
Ekeri has established itself as a leading company in the Nordic trailer and transport solution market. Its slogan, Easy Loading, refers to the fact that their trailers are easy to load (and unload) thanks to their opening sides. Every year, 700 vehicles roll out of the factory in Kållby, Pedersöre. Ekeri was founded in 1945 by Bror Eklund. It is still a family-owned company, with around 300 employees.
This series of articles have been produced within the CIT-project (Circular Insights and Transition) which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, The Council of Ostrobothnia together with all Development companies in Ostrobothnia.