- Did you know that almost all firewood available in Norwegian chain stores are imported from Russia and Eastern Europe?
- Did you know that most paper covered, user-friendly firelogs are filled with harmful chemicals?
- Did you know that even though Norway has enough Birch to heat every Norwegian home and cabin, no Norwegian firm has tried to compete against the foreign firms?
We discovered all of this in 2015 and decided to do something about it.
A sustainable vision
In 2015 we were invited to take part in a three-month program aimed at helping local businesses on the journey from idea to a full-grown business. Our vision was clear; heat Scandinavian homes with Norwegian firewood, support local industry and create jobs, and all of it in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
From import to export
With the decline in the oil sector and Norske Skog at the edge of bankruptcy, the idea to innovate and breathe some fresh air into what should have already been a strong Norwegian industry, was well received. Two of the program leaders Sten Magnus and Markus Moberg were so impressed that they both invested and became part of our board. Here, we also met Magne Vegel leader of the incubator Pan Innovation, an important contributor in reaching our goal. We have also received millions in support from Innovation Norway and a local bank Sparebank 1 Ringerike and Hadeland, as well as other local investors. Together we contribute to an increased creation of wealth in Norway, and have already started an expansion towards exporting.
An astonishing start
Although we only began our production of firewood and briquettes at the end of 2016 we have already signed contracts worth tens of millions with Norwegian companies. In 2015 millions of briquettes were imported from Vietnam and the Baltics, in 2017 a great proportion of these will have been exchanged for briquettes originating from your local sawmill. We recycle clean sawdust that otherwise would have to be transported great distances. Our Swan marked wood briquettes are free from any additives and thus you can heat up your house with a clean conscience. Today our products are available at any Coop Extra or Coop Bygg.
Focus on innovation and the consumer
In 2016 we started cooperating with NTNU and Tronerud Engineering. Together our goal is to make the use of fuelwood, be it for heating or creating a cozy atmosphere, easily available, simple to handle, light and burn for you, the consumer. Keep a look out for our logo, as we have many innovative and smart solutions coming your way in 2017 and 2018. We are very excited and know you will be to.
Svein Bjerke - entrepreneur
Svein started out as a pharmaceutical sales representative (evt. Den mer brukte forkortelsen pharmaceutical rep), though with a head for engineering and a heart for innovation he soon became the regional manager for Handicare AS; a company started by three local boys who wanted to develop new and improved equipment for wheelchair users. After ten years in one of Europe’s largest aid companies with a sales revenue of over one billion NOK, Svein was inspired to nurture his own entrepreneurial seed. Growing up in the neighborhood of the Follum plant of Norske Skog, Svein saw how an entire industry and its many jobs disappeared from Norway and his own community. Through modern and sustainable solutions Svein, together with Ole, are currently bringing these jobs back to the long-established Follum plant.
Ole Mælingen - entrepreneur
With a history as a financial advisor and a journalist at the finance magazine Dine Penger, Ole started his own fund management company which he, for many years, managed with success. When his life changed into that of a family man he decided to take a break from his 20 years in the financial world and do something entirely different. The last few years Ole has managed a smallholding where he has developed both interest and expertise within forestry. In 2015 he and Svein started Norwegian Firewood, now Varma, in which he is responsible for financing, sales, planning and development.