Kinnarps' Blue Truck Concept – our contribution to sustainable environments for offices and schools

The way your new furniture is transported is crucial for how sustainable your new interior design solution is. At Kinnarps, we have our own logistics system where we control all parts of the chain. This means we can greatly reduce the environmental impact of transportation – from carbon dioxide emissions to packaging use.

The whole concept is possible because Kinnarps' founder worked with this vision from the beginning. Going to such great lengths today would have been too great a challenge in terms of labour and finances."

Ingemar johansson, Kinnarps

Kinnarps was founded in 1942 by Evy and Jarl Andersson. Kinnarps invested in its first furniture vehicle as early as the 1950s. They had seen the advantage of being able to deliver their products themselves. With their own transportation, they could influence delivery times, routes, finances and, not least, the service they gave their customers, ensuring that all the customer's new office or school furniture was delivered to the right place and in the right way. This became the foundation for Kinnarps' own haulage business with blue trucks, today lovingly known as the "Blue Truck Concept". The Blue Truck Concept is the backbone of a unique, sustainable and environmentally-friendly logistics system where Kinnarps owns and controls every step in the chain.

"In the 1990s, the concept was further refined by Evy and Jarl's son, Assar Jarlsson, who developed smart concepts for loading and packaging our products. The whole logistics chain and all trucks are optimised for our furniture, which makes the system very effective," explains Ingemar Johansson, Logistics Manager at Kinnarps.

The solution is unique when it comes to furniture for public environments. Today, Kinnarps' logistics team employs about 100 people, of which about 15 work in strategy and planning and the rest are delivery fitters.

Effective packaging provides environmental benefits

The driving force behind the Blue Truck Concept is common sense. Sustainability, economy and customer benefits go hand in hand and benefit Kinnarps as well as the customers' sustainability work.

The logistics chain is entirely order-directed. When the order is placed, the routes and packing of the trucks are planned with regard to delivery time and geography. A special program also plans how the furniture will be packed in the truck in a volume-efficient manner, not entirely different from a jigsaw puzzle. Desks, task chairs, office chairs, storage units – the system knows exactly how the different furniture must be packed to fit in as much as possible.

"In this way, our trucks can be filled 100% with office furniture before each journey. The furniture is also packed according to the principle 'first out, last in'," explains Johansson.

"On the way home from our customers, the blue trucks stop at Kinnarps' suppliers and bring back materials for production. This means that we achieve a load efficiency of about 50% on the return journeys. In this way, we minimise empty loads and can therefore reduce our own CO2 emissions and the carbon footprint of our office furniture."

Furniture with minimum packaging

Each truck is manned by two Kinnarps fitters. On delivery, they carry in the furniture, unpack it and assemble it. The idea is that the customer has their furniture in place quickly and efficiently with minimum disruption.

Instead of traditional packaging, we use blankets and cardboard to protect our furniture. The blankets and cardboard are then returned and reused time after time. This means that each container or truck corresponds to a saving of 270 kg of packaging, for example corrugated cardboard. This is an effective way of conserving the Earth's resources, saving the customer the trouble of taking care of the packaging at the same time.

Environmental benefits of Kinnarps' sustainable transportation

  • Kinnarps transports 50% more furniture in the Blue Truck Concept than the rest of the industry due to efficient packaging
  • Kinnarps saves at least 270 kg of packaging per container by wrapping its products in blankets
  • Kinnarps Blue Truck Concept runs on diesel with renewable content, which reduces our carbon emissions by 40%

Customer value of Kinnarps' eco-smart Blue Truck Concept

  • We can deliver a complete solution on delivery
  • We install 50% more quickly than the industry average
  • The customer has minimum disruption to their business during delivery and installation

Kinnarps chooses diesel with renewable content

Today, our Blue Truck Concept operates throughout the Nordic countries and in Belgium and the UK. All our fitters are trained in eco-driving and our own workshops ensure the trucks are always in top condition and have the right tyre pressure.

"Our fleet of trucks has about 50 vehicles of which about half are classified as Euro 6 and half are Euro 4 and Euro 5, which will be phased out gradually," explains Ingemar Åberg, Fleet Manager at Kinnarps.

"We've decided to run our trucks on diesel with renewable content, known as HVO, which is produced from waste products from the Swedish forestry industry, among other things. In this way, we've managed to reduce our carbon emissions by 40%, which is an important part of our sustainability work."

Ingemar Johansson & Ingemar Åberg, Kinnarps

The dream was to run the trucks on diesel with 90% or 100% renewable content             

"But the fact is that this type of fuel is becoming a scarce resource. The new Swedish Diesel Emissions Reduction Act enters into force on 1 July 2018 and will probably mean that we and all others who prioritise sustainable diesel alternatives cannot get the deliveries we want."

The discussion about environmental zones in Europe's largest cities and the place of diesel cars in this context is largely a private car issue, thinks Åberg.

"Diesel with renewable content is an excellent environmental choice when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Environmental zones are about reducing the quantity of harmful particles. Commercial traffic has been restricted to environmental zones for many years and we've developed procedures where we use Euro 6 trucks in these areas."


Diesel – a sustainable fuel?

Can diesel be a sustainable alternative for those who want to reduce their carbon emissions? And what other alternatives are there? Preem's Key Account Manager Anette Rydén and Product Specialist Eva Clintenell answer our questions. 

What diesel alternatives are there for climate-smart transportation?

Today there are many different alternatives to choose between. A product group known as Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) is based on different types of vegetable oils, for example soya, rapeseed and maize. Rapeseed Methyl Ester (RME) is probably the one that most people recognise. If you use the term biodiesel, this is the type of diesel it refers to. There is a difference in the chemical composition between biodiesel and ordinary diesel, which entails certain restrictions for use in vehicles. Vehicle suppliers usually permit a maximum of 7% biodiesel in the fuel mix. If you want to run your fleet on 100% biodiesel, the vehicles must be adapted and approved by the vehicle supplier. Currently, only heavy vehicles are granted this approval.

Another option, which does not require custom vehicles, is diesel with renewable content, known as HVO. HVO stands for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil and is extracted from waste products from, for instance, the forestry industry. The chemical structure of HVO is largely identical to fossil diesel, which means that you can run ordinary trucks on this fuel – and it is this kind of diesel that Kinnarps runs on. However, when the current diesel standard is not fully met, approval is often needed from the vehicle supplier. At Preem we call our diesel with renewable content "Evolution". It is based on a mixture of standard diesel, 7% FAME and up to 43% HVO. Our HVO is based on tall oil from the Swedish forestry and pulp industry. In theory, it is possible to have a very high component of HVO. The higher the component of HVO, the lower the fossil carbon emissions.

"Growing forests take in carbon dioxide and can also regenerate quickly, reducing the environmental impact. Therefore, diesel with renewable content is a good, sustainable alternative fuel."

What is the environmental purpose of diesel with renewable content?

"Crude oil is actually also plant-based. But crude oil has been stored in the ground for millions of years, which means that the cycle length is relatively long compared to the short time it takes to consume it. This therefore creates an imbalance. HVO is based on a renewable raw material, in this case from Swedish forests. Growing forests take in carbon dioxide and can also regenerate quickly, reducing the environmental impact. Therefore, diesel with renewable content is a good, sustainable alternative fuel."

What difference will the Swedish Diesel Emissions Reduction Act make?

On 1 July 2018, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act enters into force in Sweden. This means that all fuel suppliers must reduce emissions of fossil greenhouse gases from petrol and diesel fuel by adding biofuel. For diesel, this reduction must be 19.3%. If the supplier, i.e. our company, does not fulfil this requirement, we will be punished with severe fines. This means that the HVO we have today will mostly be required to satisfy the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. HVO is already a scarce resource, so the result will be that our customers will be unable to access HVO 100 to the same extent as is possible today. HVO is very popular in Sweden: the fact is that Sweden currently uses as much as 30% of the global production of HVO. The Swedish Diesel Emissions Reduction Act will entail a redistribution of resources, but in order to produce more sustainable diesel with renewable content, extensive investment in new production facilities and increased access to raw materials are required.

Eva Clintenell, Product specialist

Anette Rydén, Key Account