So why are we in this business of relocating energy? It started some 45 years ago when EFO was founded by a group of energy companies, as a competence center in a complex world of physical energy trading, to assure the security of supply, a never-ending flow of energy to our partners. This was and is an integral part of them being able to guarantee uninterrupted supply, to their customers, of hot water through the district heating network all days around the year including the coldest winter days when temperatures reach past negative 30 on the thermometer.
This is the foundation EFO was built on, a specialized team of industry experts in energy trading and logistics at the core. Since then, the world and our way of living have changed dramatically. Global development has led to population growth, urbanization, and economic growth, as well as consumer shopping habits and thus the arisings of waste.
At the same time, the European Union has decided on a directive for all member states to abandon landfilling as a solution for waste disposal. Furthermore, new recycling targets have been imposed on the member states forcing all countries to address the problem of residual waste more diligently.
Sweden was one of the first member states to ratify the directive of landfill ban. This whilst having an already widely used network for heating, led to rapid commissioning of new state-of-the-art boilers to dispose of residual waste in a clean way and at the same time utilizing the energy for heat and electricity production. As a consequence of the very favorable infrastructure in place already, we now have a capacity exceeding the Swedish while some utilities can offer the service to other countries.
For EFO this has led to a completely new rationale and business model but built on the same foundation with competence at the core. The big shift has been to adapt to a non-index-based market, which means finding new customers, opportunities and logistic solutions require much more groundwork since there is no public platform for connecting customers with suppliers. Additionally, the operational work has increased dramatically with working with waste as a fuel for heat and electricity production. This is due to the substantially lower energy content which means that we need to transport four times as many tons as previous, making EFO one of the biggest freight operators for inbound logistics into the Baltic Sea.
Working with residual waste has also meant learning to handle new risks in the business. First of all, we must handle the financial risk of our customers. Additionally, we have been forced to better understand the integrity risks connected to the waste industry, as it also attracts organized criminal networks around the globe. Furthermore, we have identified risks with companies having poor corporate social ethics and also risks with the residual waste itself, as we are not permitted to transport or in any way handle hazardous waste.
All in all, EFO has had to completely redevelop the business to incorporate the new market conditions and develop completely new business processes to meet the new market risk. After doing so, we pride ourselves on being amongst the best in the industry with regards to transparency, integrity, and control.
But our assignment doesn’t stop there, because as we learned a lot about how to handle waste during the years – we believe it is in our mission also to share our findings to learn how to minimize waste and to recycle more. In our purpose we have three main goals, for how to contribute in closing the loop:
EFO – Educating, facilitating, and operating since 1975
We pledge to share and connect knowledge, people, and facts to keep the matter of waste high on the agenda.
We urge and encourage our partner's waste to be minimized and recycling to be increased.
We strive to organize, handle and transport waste only using existing and imbalanced freight ways.
What we offer our partners
In 2019, we co-founded The Responsible Shipping Initiative together with some of Sweden´s largest charterers of dry cargo vessels; Södra Skogsägarna, Lantmännen, SSAB, Billerud Korsnäs and Stockholm Exergi. The purpose is to secure the quality, increase the standard of the vessels and working conditions onboard the large number of ships that daily sail in the Baltic sea, carrying goods to our members. Through our initiative, we can improve standards and share all the information we gain through our own collective audits and inspections, that we carry out.