Ikea to ban single-use plastics, targets ‘climate-positive’ status under new strategy

Removing all single-use plastics products from its range globally, eliminating more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain emits, and generating more renewables than it consumes are all headline goals of Ikea's updated People and Planet Positive strategy.

Ikea’s new People and Planet Positive strategy, released today (7 June), outlines plans for the global retailer to champion the circular economy alongside headline goals of becoming “climate positive” and sourcing 100% renewable energy.

Alongside the single-use plastic ban by 2020, Ikea will strive to design all products using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030. The ban on plastics in customer and co-worker restaurants will originally apply to 363 stores in 29 markets through the company’s biggest franchise Ingka Holding B.V and controlled entities.

“Our ambition is to become people and planet positive by 2030 while growing the Ikea business. Through our size and reach we have the opportunity to inspire and enable more than one billion people to live better lives, within the limits of the planet,” Ikea Group’s chief executive Torbjörn Lööf said.

“Change will only be possible if we collaborate with others and nurture entrepreneurship. We are committed to taking the lead working together with everyone – from raw material suppliers all the way to our customers and partners.”

Ikea’s climate positive ambition aims to fulfil the retailer’s contribution to the Paris Agreement through an emissions reduction across the value chain that is aligned to climate science. Ikea notes that a targeted 80% climate footprint reduction from stores and operations in absolute terms by 2030 – against a 2016 baseline – aligns to the 2C target of the Paris Agreement and aims towards the 1.5C trajectory towards the end of the century.

Reducing emissions by 15% from the value chain by 2030 translates to a 70% reduction in climate footprint on average per Ikea product, according to the group. The scope includes the footprints of materials, food ingredients and transport, while direct suppliers will be given more ambitious reduction targets.

Ikea also notes that it will develop and improve practices that can capture and store carbon in the value chain, notably through carbon sequestration and better forest management. The retailer will also move to purchase 100% renewable energy and generate more renewable energy than it consumes 2020.

Truly circular

The retailer will also create new services that enable customers to care for and pass on products as part of a resource-efficient business model.

Ikea UK’s latest annual report, for example, revealed that a furniture take-back scheme had seen 12,960 sofas, beds and appliances recovered for reuse and recycling to date, while a new textile take-back scheme in Cardiff has collected 1.1 tonnes of product. In total, 2,030 households accessed free or reduced-price furniture through the take-back scheme.

“Becoming truly circular means meeting people’s changing lifestyles, prolonging the life of products and materials and using resources in a smarter way. To make this a reality, we will design all products from the very beginning to be repurposed, repaired, reused, resold and recycled”, Ikea’s sustainability manager Lena Pripp-Kovac said.

Under the new strategy, Ikea will also move increase the proportion of plant-based food it offers, reach zero-emission home deliveries by 2025 – again limited to the Ingka Holding B.V franchise – and expand the home solar solutions from five markets to 29 by 2025.

Matt Mace

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