Vestre Is the First Furniture Manufacturer to Use SSAB’s Fossil-Free Steel

Since 1947, Vestre has been helping to create social and sustainable meeting places which bring people together around the world. The company wants to be seen as the world´s most sustainable furniture manufacturer and believe that everyone can help save the world. A little. Vestre don’t believe there is a future for businesses that do not take responsibility for the world around them. A question that often is asked internally is: “What can we as a company do to help make society better?” For Vestre, the answer is to manufacture products in a way that is as environmentally friendly as possible. To find solutions that do not already exist. To be open and transparent and show the world how we are doing it – so that we can inspire others.

Vestre has a long history of pushing for more sustainable production: In 2017, Vestre certified the world´s first urban bench with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. In 2024, more than 350 products are certified with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel and the work continues. In 2020, for the first time Vestre published a product catalog with EPD values for the entire portfolio. Later that same year, the world´s first bench made from ownerless marine plastic was launched. And in 2022, Vestre opened The Plus – the world´s more environmentally friendly furniture factory, thereby establishing a ground-breaking new standard for the factories of the future.

In 2023, yet another environmental step forward was made – Vestre became the first furniture manufacturer anywhere in the world to use SSAB´s fossil-free steel in its manufacturing process.

The launch of the world´s first bench made from 100% fossil-free steel from SSAB is called TELLUS. It is the brainchild of Swedish designer Emma Olbers, who has received several awards and acknowledgments for her work with sustainable design. The bench got its name because it was designed and produced “with Tellus in mind”, in accordance with our planetary boundaries.

“The main goal was to create a bench with as few emissions as possible. An urban bench for public environments must withstand a lot of wear and tear. Therefore, a strong construction is important. We have striven to use as little material as possible, but still maintain the construction´s integral strength. I think it should both radiate a metallic feel and tactility, but also look welcoming, hence the wide armrests which are visually inviting and functional, since they provide space for a coffee cup” Emma Olbers explains.

“At Vestre, we live by the motto: “Everyone can save the world. A little.” This fits well with both Emma Olbers´ and SSAB´s visions. A natural collaboration between strong parties who all work towards the same goal”, says Bjørn Fjellstad, CEO at Vestre.

Emma Olbers is a Swedish designer with more than 20 years experience in the field. She has her own Stockholm-based design studio and has received several awards and acknowledgments for her work on sustainable design. Olbers believes that sustainability and product life cycles are key concerns, and she strives to incorporate these considerations into her work. Olbers wants to design good products – good in all aspects, including being good for our planet. She tries to design products with as low carbon emissions as possible, preferably made from renewable or recycled materials, carefully produced to last a long time.

Olbers´ design method is based on the article Planetary Boundaries, A Safe Operating Space for Humanity (Rockström, J., Steffen, W. et al, 2009). She has chosen to focus on the climate, partly because it along with biodiversity, is of central importance to our survival. Here, the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions and circular design are essential. When it comes to furniture in general, about 50 percent of emissions come from the materials used, so she puts a lot of thought into the choice of materials. This makes her the perfect designer for the new Vestre bench in fossil-free steel.

The Tellus bench is produced at the Vestre steel factory in Torsby, Sweden. The fossil-free still will be fully commercially available in 2026.

Published on January 23, 2024

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