Ikea boosts sustainable products and renewable energy sourcing

The world's biggest furniture retailer has made strides in its mission to deliver sustainable products and transition to renewable energy, Ikea's latest global sustainability report has shown.

Worldwide, Ikea owns more wind turbines than stores, as it closes in on a target to become “energy independent” by 2020. Ikea now has 416 wind turbines and 750,000 solar panels, generating the equivalent of 73% of the energy it used last year.

The global Ikea group has already more than trebled the sales from its “sustainable life at home” products. The firm now has more than 500 different affordable products with functions that enable more sustainable living, such as water and energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste sorting.

“By working long-term and setting ambitions that are larger than what we can achieve alone, we will create an even bigger positive impact,” said Ikea group sustainability manager Lena Pripp-Kovac.

“Our new sustainability commitments, guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will push and enable us throughout the Ikea value chain to prepare for the world of 2030. And by working together with others, I’m confident that we will create a positive impact.”

Flat-pack circularity

Ikea says it is “striving for resource independence by using resources within the limits of the planet”. The report shows that 77% of wood and 100% of cotton sourced for IKEA products were from sustainable sources in 2017.

More than 200,000kg of food was prevented from going to waste – saving more than 865 tonnes of carbon emissions. This is part of a commitment to halve food waste by 2020. Meanwhile, 98% of the packaging used for Ikea products is made from renewables, recyclable or recycled materials.

In the UK, Ikea sends zero-waste-to-landfill, and generates around 41% of the energy it consumes through renewable energy. As well as offering domestic battery storage solutions to customers, Ikea is selling kitchen fronts made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). 

Ikea last year started construction on the UK’s “most sustainable” store, and recently joined a new joint venture – a collective energy switch that promises an exclusive 100% renewable electricity tariff.

But there is still room for improvement. IKEA managed to recycle just 1% of total wood used in 2017, indicating a long way to go to achieve its 2020 target of 30%.  

The report claims that a lack of existing infrastructures has slowed Ikea’s transition towards using more recycled materials in products.

Slow progress has made been in the area of plastics, with the company admitting it is not on track to ensure all plastic material used in its home furnishing products will be 100% renewable and/or recycled by August 2020.

Hege Sæbjørnsen at edie Live

Ikea UK and Ireland’s country sustainability manager Hege Sæbjørnsen will be speaking on the Resource Efficiency theatre on Day Two of edie Live. The session focuses on the closed-loop business of the future, as we showcase how organisations are transforming business models and modifying supply chains to reshape waste management and recycling approaches.

Running between 22 – 23 May 2018, edie Live plans to show delegates how they can achieve their Mission Possible. Through the lens of energy, resources, the built environment, mobility and business leadership an array of expert speakers will be on hand to inspire delegates to achieve a sustainable future. For more information click here.

George Ogleby

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