The Plus: Someone has to take the lead if we are to accelerate the green shift
Vestre has a long tradition of turning words into actions. We are proud to take the lead, and with the 2021 opening of The Plus, the world's most environmentally friendly furniture factory, we are establishing a pioneering new standard for the factories of the future.
Norway and the world after oil
As a Norwegian-owned company, it's natural for us to use Norway as an example, but Norway is not alone in what we are about to say. We live in a country that generates a lot of its revenue from a non-renewable energy source, in our case oil. But how long will this last in a world that is rapidly switching to renewable energy? We need to diversify.
Norway also has a growing trade deficit from its mainland economy, which until now has been covered by oil revenues. When oil is phased out with the green shift, innovation and action must follow to balance the books. New, sustainable and profitable mainland industries must be built that deliver products and services to the whole world. Thinking and talking about sustainability must be converted into actions and new export opportunities.
4-minute mile: if Vestre can do it, others can too
Until 1953, the whole world was certain that it was impossible to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Then Roger Bannister did it in 3:59. The impossible suddenly became possible, and just two months later, two other runners crossed the finish line in under 4 minutes.
Some years earlier, Vestre was founded in the same spirit, when Johannes Vestre set up his first mechanical workshop in 1947 with the motto ‘Everything is possible for Our Lord and a mechanic’. At Vestre, we still believe everything is possible. And if we lead the way and show that it can be done, others will follow.
Our most recent example is making the largest single investment in the Norwegian furniture industry for decades to generate profitable and environmentally friendly production in a high-cost country. We believe that The Plus will be a guiding light to inspire other companies to launch equally ambitious projects.
Vestre Experience Centre, a showcase of the factories of the future
The Plus will be the world’s most open and transparent factory. The goal is to show that the industry of the future offers exciting workplaces where technology and sustainable production are an important part of the world after oil. At the heart of The Plus lies the visitor centre, which is open to all: nurseries, school groups, students, companies, organisations and individuals.
From the roof and through the windows in the forest, you will see the furniture being created in the factory, and at the Vestre Energy Centre and Vestre Clean Water Centre, we will teach you about everything we do, and everything we know about energy production, energy recovery, water treatment and the life-cycle of materials.
Will Vestre be for Magnor what Tesla was for Nevada?
The Plus will be a global inspiration and show how the Scandinavian countries and Vestre are working to create sustainable business, climate-friendly solutions, circular value chains and committed cooperation.
Local partnerships will be established in order to create entire value chains in the Norwegian-Swedish region's bioeconomy. We will for example collaborate with forest owners and local sawmills to turn locally sourced timber into unique designer furniture.
We will collaborate with neighbouring companies like Norsk Hydro and Magnor Glassworks on design, production and competence development. Good collaboration like this will play a key role in making Magnor and Eidskog a natural choice for other businesses which are seeking to establish innovative industry.
We are convinced that more companies will come to Magnor to become part of a strong manufacturing cluster. When Tesla set up its revolutionary battery factory, Gigafactory 1, in the middle of the Nevada desert, it didn’t take long before major tech giants like Apple and Google also established a presence there.
So, who will be next after The Plus?