The Sustainable Choice – Fibo’s Environmentally Conscious Production Line
Whilst producing high-quality wall panel systems that enable the creation of beautiful and contemporary bathroom and kitchen spaces, Fibo also works hard to reduce its impact on the environment. Here, we caught up with Gunnar Gabrielsen, Production Manager, from the factory in Norway to talk more about how Fibo is committed to sustainability.
Q) As a company, do you have an environmental goal that you would like to achieve?
At Fibo, we are constantly working to become more sustainable and to reduce our impact on the environment further – it’s a never-ending journey, there’s always improvements to be made.
For example, as well as targeting continued reductions in our energy consumption, we’re also working hard to reduce the amount of waste generated during the production process. This has been a primary focus of ours for the last three years, with great results so far, we’ve succeeded in reducing our plastic usage by 50% since 2018. Moving forwards, we want to continue this trend and intensify our efforts to see the figures fall even further.
As well as looking at how we can improve our sustainability as a company, in collaboration with the research site SINTEF and our subcontractors we’re also working on a research project to look at the use of degradable plastics.
Q) How do you ensure that the materials you use to manufacture your walls panels are sustainable?
All our wall panels are manufactured with a layered, high-quality plywood core, an inherently renewable and carbon-friendly material. What’s more, all our timber is either PEFC or FSC certified, meaning that it has been sourced from sustainable forests and also offers full traceability, from the raw material through to the final finished product.
Q) Have Fibo’s wall panels, or the company, received any environmental certifications and if so, which ones and why?
We are proud to have recently received certification to ISO 14001; it is testament to our dedication and commitment to lessening our impact on the environment.
We have also been fortunate enough to have been appointed ‘Lean Company of the Year’ in Norway on three occasions, as well as our range of wall panels satisfying BREEAM-NOR, meeting the requirements for the construction of sustainable buildings in by Norwegian standards.
Q) What do you do with cut-off waste at the factory?
At Fibo, our emphasis is on reusing and recycling as much waste as possible during the production process, therefore reducing the amount that is sent to landfill.
Given the fact that our panels are manufactured using a plywood core, the majority of cut-off waste in our factories is timber. This can either be reused in the factory or burnt as a bio-fuel and used as an energy source, helping to heat our buildings and production plant facilities in Norway. As well as keeping the wood from landfill, this also contributes to lowering our overall energy consumption – it’s a win win!
Whilst our recycling and reusing of waste is a definite step in the right direction, it’s perhaps just as important to look at how we can reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place. For us, we are currently in the process of further automating and digitising our production processes. This will deliver improved evidence-based data for process and quality improvements, in turn helping us to reduce waste directly from the source.
Q) How do you try to reduce energy consumption at the manufacturing plant?
As well as using wood waste to help heat our manufacturing plants, there are also other steps we have taken to combat our energy consumption. For example, we are constantly reviewing our production processes, with project teams whose dedicated job it is to identify opportunities for improving our energy usage.
We have also heavily invested in our factory, including an upgraded production line. As well as helping to increase our capacity and enable us to deliver our range of wall panels to even more customers, the investment is expected to significantly reduce the amount of energy used to produce each 1m2 of panel.
Already, we have succeeded in reducing our energy consumption by 16% since 2013…and we’re still going!
Q) Do you have recycling procedures in place?
Yes, we do – at Fibo, our motto is very much ‘recycle or reuse’. Recycling is like second nature to us.
For me, the figures speak for themselves. On average, we recycle 27 tonnes of plastic and 49 tonnes of cardboard and paper every year – that’s over 75 tonnes of waste saved from entering into landfill!
But don’t just take our word for it. We’re certified to Norway’s Green Point scheme, which involves an annual audit on our internal waste management systems.
Q) You say that Fibo wall panels are an environmentally-friendly option compared to tiling, but what proof do you have?
We’ve actually recently had an independent analysis carried out by leading Norwegian consultants Asplan Viak into the carbon impact of our waterproof wall panels. The report compares the full lifecycle carbon footprint of our panels with typical Italian ceramic tiles. It takes things such as material usage, the transportation of materials and the end-of-life emissions into consideration, and I’m pleased to say that Fibo comes out on top by quite a lot. 37% less than tiles to be precise!
To learn more about Fibo and it’s carbon impact compared to tiles, visit: https://fibouk.fibo.vps.dekodes.no/behind_the_scenes_of_the_new_carbon_footprint_report/