IKEA draws up global water strategy for supply chain

IKEA is finalising details on a water strategy that will be rolled out across its home furnishing supply chain later this year in a bid to reduce water use and improve wastewater quality.

The strategy, announced in the company’s latest sustainability report published earlier this month, will outline key priorities for suppliers as well as water efficiency goals for 2015 and 2020.

IKEA already has water specialists in selected regions across the globe, notably in South Asia where water stress is an urgent challenge and where the company’s suppliers operate water-intensive production processes.

To ensure the strategy is delivered effectively, IKEA says it will “develop more competence and resources” where needed. A pilot project with 20 textile suppliers in six Asian countries and Turkey is already exploring ways to encourage greater water efficiency, and the retailer says it will engage more suppliers into the process during the coming months.

According to the company’s sustainability report, IKEA collected water consumption data from around 300 suppliers last year – over a quarter of its home furnishing supplier base – to build up a more reliable picture of water usage.

The retailer estimates that direct suppliers’ total water footprint during last year was in the region of 55-70m cubic metres, with textiles, rugs, carpets, appliances, glass, board materials and ceramics being the most water-intensive products.

While IKEA hasn’t yet set any global reduction targets for water use across the business as a whole, in South Asia the company has pledged to help its suppliers reduce water use by 20% over the next few years.

Maxine Perella

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