Ikea UK’s resource-efficiency drive blossoms as revenues surge

Ikea UK has made strides to become a "truly circular retailer", with the company's annual report highlighting resource-efficiency progress and a second consecutive year of zero waste sent to landfill during a period of economic growth.

Ikea UK’s annual report outlined a 5.8% increase in total sales for the financial year ending 31 August 2017, compared to the previous year. Some of this growth, which totalled more than £1.8bn, was driven by services falling under the retailer’s its People and Planet Positive strategy.

The report revealed that Ikea’s furniture take-back scheme has 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.

As well as offering domestic battery storage solutions to customers, Ikea is selling kitchen fronts made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The global Ikea group has already trebled the sales from its ‘sustainable life at home’ products, while UK branches have increased overall sales by 57% in the last six years.

Ikea UK’s country sustainability manager Hege Sæbjørnsen said: “It’s 30 years since we launched in the UK, and we’ve come a long way – investing in renewable energy, sending zero waste to landfill, and working to inspire and enable our customers to live more sustainable and healthier lives.

“We’ve achieved a lot over the past year, but we want to do even better. By working together with our co-workers, customers, communities and partners, we are becoming people and planet positive.”

Other achievements listed in the report include sending zero waste to landfill for the second year running, and generating 41% of the energy it consumes through renewable energy. Globally, Ikea owns more wind turbines than stores, as it closes in on a target to become “energy independent” by 2020.

As part of a commitment to halve food waste by 2020, Ikea UK’s Food is Precious initiative has resulted in a 32% reduction in food waste across stores. The Food is Precious initiative was piloted in the UK and more than 20% of global IKEA stores have since applied the system.

Various local community efforts were celebrated in the report. As well as a Breaking Barriers partnership to place refugees into work, a 10-year partnership with the Woodland Trust has seen 1.4 million trees planted in the UK.

Sæbjørnsen recently appeared on an episode of edie’s Sustainable Business Covered podcast, to discuss how the retailer has enabled its consumers to get on board with the sustainability transition, at an Ikea house party event in London.

Ikea at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum

edie Sustainability Leaders Forum will be hosting a two day conference on the 24 – 25 January 2018, with two days full of talks, panel discussions, workshops and networking – delivering sustainability professionals the most comprehensive, interactive and immersive programme.

Ikea UK’s sustainability manager Hege Sæbjørnsen will be speaking at the event to showcase how embracing new ways of working is proving a profitable business venture for the retailer.

To ensure you don’t miss out, book your place to attend either one day or two days through the link here.

Matt Mace

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