Polarbröd – greatest enjoyment, least impact
More than 100 years ago, Johan Nilsson founded the company which is now Polarbröd. Today, it is the fifth generation of the family which is taking the wonderful scent of freshly-baked bread from the original bakery in the village of Älvsbyn still further. Polarbröd takes sustainability seriously, and the acquisition of four wind turbines from OX2 reflects the company’s commitment. We spoke to Karin Bodin, CEO of Polarbröd, and Roger Borgeryd, CEO of Polarkraft.
What’s the background to the investment?
Karin Bodin, CEO of Polarbröd: “Polarbröd and the whole family have always been committed to social issues and sustainability. It’s in our DNA. As heirs, we are proud of the company and we have a very strong sense of responsibility for the future. That’s why we aim to ensure that our operations have the least possible impact on the environment. We have adopted a target of 100 percent self-sufficiency in electricity, and that it must be eco-friendly. The target was adopted in late 2012, and we wanted to move quickly.”
So you choose wind power from OX2?
Roger Borgeryd: “Polarbröd isn’t a giant corporation, and we looked at different options to find something that suited our size and ambition. Wind power rapidly emerged as the most sensible alternative.
The technology is available, the investment was reasonable and there are realistic rules for depreciation and amortisation.
The first step was to set up a separate company called Polarkraft. This was done by early 2013, and in June 2013, we were able to sign an agreement with OX2 for the acquisition of three wind turbines at Bosjövarden in Mora. In January 2014, we acquired a fourth wind turbine at Mässingberget in the Municipality of Orsa.”
So what has it been like working with OX2?
Roger continues: ”We already had a good relationship with OX2 before we began discussing this particular project. This really opened our eyes to OX2’s operations and the company has proved to be an extremely competent and professional business partner, a pleasure to do business with. OX2’s vast experience in the field and the fact that it offers a virtually turnkey product makes the
Polarbröd in brief
• Fifth-generation family company
• Around 400 employees
• Three bakeries in Älvsbyn, Bredbyn and Omne
• Bakes around 40,000 tonnes of bread a year
• Through its subsidiary, Polarkraft, owns three wind turbines at Bosjövarden in the Municipality of Mora and one at Mässingberget in the Municipality of Orsa
whole process so much easier. They offered a solution which dovetailed nicely with our holistic approach. We see this as the start of a continuing investment in environmentally-sustainable electricity production by Polarkraft.”
Is sustainability a central issue at Polarbröd?
Karin: ”A financially-sound company which generates a profit has never been an end in itself. It is an opportunity to generate other values, such as high-quality products, local jobs, drive and independence. This makes our investment in wind power an important part of our operation.
Sustainability is, of course, about reducing the impact on the natural environment, but we are very clear that having an aim greater than just short-term profitability benefits the whole organisation. We know that our staff are highly committed to our work on sustainability, so Polarbröd’s impact on the environment is something we all take seriously. Altogether, the investment in wind power is generating benefits on several levels. First and foremost, it’s a great deal for us, secondly, it generates goodwill and thirdly, it benefits the environment.”
Finally – what is Polarbröd’s view of the business sector’s transition to renewable energy?
A final word from Karin: ”A discussion about sustainability can so very easily become just a set of good intentions. At Polarbröd, we are absolutely determined to make a difference. We decided that our commitment would have to stretch far outside the walls of our bakeries.
As the head of a family company, it was basically up to me. I think it’s obvious that there is no game plan which prioritises environmental issues. If our parliamentary politicians used fiscal policy to the full and if the objectives were more clearly formulated, then I am convinced that the transition would move much more quickly. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with a committed company like OX2, in the difficult task of achieving the transition to a sustainable society.”