Geminor celebrates 20 years in the waste management industry: From a one-man-show to a leading international group

July 9, 2024
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Over the past twenty years, Geminor, a resource management and trading company, has evolved from a modest entrepreneurial venture into a leading waste management company in Europe. "Innovation isn't just a driver for growth; it's essential for our survival," says Kjetil Vikingstad, founder and CEO of Geminor.

Kjetil Vikingstad started Geminor in 2004 to supply waste handling and recovery services in Norway. From humble beginnings on the island of Karmøy, the activity gradually increased, and in 2008, Vikingstad partnered with co-owner Ralf Schopwinkel. The two were ambitious to build a leading international waste management company, but 20 years later, the business far exceeded Vikingstad’s expectations.

“Already in 2005, we aimed for a long-term goal to manage 1 million tonnes of waste resources annually – a target that seemed quite ambitious at the time. Two decades later, we have a presence in 10 countries, employ over 140 professionals in Europe, and handle more than 2,4 million tonnes of waste resources annually, surpassing my wildest expectations," shares the jubilant CEO of Geminor, Kjetil Vikingstad.

Ban on Landfill: A Game Changer

The 2007 landfill ban in Norway was a turning point, opening the market for recycling and energy recovery, with Geminor playing a crucial role in navigating this new landscape. The company expanded into Finland and established a UK office to facilitate exports from the English surplus market to off-taker markets in Scandinavia. Geminor progressively established offices and waste treatment HUBs in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Italy, and France, and recently entered the Spanish market.

Reflecting on this growth, Vikingstad highlights the company's commitment to being a reliable partner in the industry.

"This company is founded on a passion for crafting solutions and tackling challenges. The past 20 years have been a journey filled with hard work and successes, but we have also had to learn from our mistakes," Vikingstad remarks.

“I think the group has made its mark in the European recycling and recovery industry because we have stayed true to our values. It may sound like a cliché, but it really is important to have integrity and deliver on your promises. This can sometimes be difficult in an unstable and unpredictable market,” says Vikingstad.

Company Culture vs. Industry Culture

 Geminor places great importance on adapting to cultural differences within the industry across Europe while upholding a core set of shared values.

"Our decentralized structure is a strength, as regional knowledge of national markets and unique business cultures is crucial. However, this approach does pose challenges in maintaining cross-border cooperation and a strong company culture. Nonetheless, our business model has resulted in numerous long-term partnerships, which I view as a testament to the market's confidence in us," explains Vikingstad.

Looking forward, Geminor aims to digitalize its operations further, advance its ESG initiatives, and expand into Southern and Eastern Europe. The company is also focusing on increasing material recycling and contributing to developing the plastic recycling market.

"It is vital to contribute to the green shift by being an innovative and dynamic force within the industry. This commitment is crucial not only for further growth but for the survival of any company in our sector. What would be helpful is a common EU waste legislation and a permanent ban on landfill. Nevertheless, Geminor will continue to adapt to meet the future needs of this industry," concludes the CEO of Geminor, Kjetil Vikingstad.