Sustainable Shipping and Recycling – That’s the Stena Way

The last day in Sweden led to a surprise visit for Mark and I when we visited Stena Line, the private shipping company that has built itself up for the past 50 years to become a major player in the Northern European shipping and green tech markets in multiple sectors, including commercial transport, consumer ferries, oil exploration, and recycling.

The company’s motto, “We Care” might seem like something out of a typical corporate boardroom. But in Stena’s case, it actually makes sense. This privately-held company, which employs about 30,000 people, is one with a soul. They have the sense to pursue segments that have a long-term view of actually benefiting everyday people and their society as a whole. It’s completely un-American, but definitely not un-human.

One of the things that interested us most was the R&D division of Stena’s, which is the company that handles the shipping. It turns out that Stena has complete proprietary control over its ship-building designs, which are primarily built in Asia and supervised by Swedes without any contract work. One notable improvement in shipping was how they came up with an air pocket under the hull of its ships that allowed for a 30% increase in efficiency. This is just one more example of the type of smart innovations that Swedish companies continue to come up with and ultimately profit from. The realization we are slowly coming to with Stena, as with other companies in Scandinavia, is that you don’t have to sacrifice smart improvements that are good for people or the environment in order to make a profit. You can actually do both.

And there’s a reason why we should all want to do both. Stena’s chairman, president and owner want the oceans to be useable for his children and grandchildren. What Stena calls sustainability could more realistically be called common sense.